Being a “writer” doesn’t mean you have to be good at it…

Bold Proclamations about writing, being a writer. Include image. Sassy. Brassy. And all that.

I say that anyone can be a writer. Like many things, there are good writers and bad writers. To be “a writer” does not mean you have to be good. Some may disagree with me on that. But I say to them: anyone who can find value in writing, is a writer. In my eyes, a writer is not necessarily someone whose words unfurl onto the paper with inherent ease. Some writers are this way, but ability does not define a writer. A writer is someone who can create a relationship with his or her words.

That relationship isn’t always easy. Writing takes endurance and vision. I don’t mean vision as in setting rigid goals and either achieving or failing. I mean vision to see what could be. A writer’s vision can be constantly evolving. A piece can start a certain way and end up in a completely different direction. Writing can be frustrating and difficult, but it is rewarding in the end.

Writing requires purpose. I don’t necessarily mean “change the world” purpose. Changing the world very well can be a writer’s purpose, but not all writers should feel the need to set out such a grand task. A writer’s purpose can simply be to clear her mind, or sort through a decision. The purpose can be selfish or it can be universal.

Now, this may spark some disagreement but I would break down writing into 2 percentages: 60% of writing is for the writer, 40% for the audience. I think by nature, writers like to hear themselves speak. I think they get enjoyment not only out of the process, but also the end product. I think this satisfaction with the end product is what makes us selfish. Granted, we always have to keep our audience in mind when we write. But I think writing is slightly more about us than it is about our audience. What do you think? Percentage wise, how would you divvy up writing?

Writing is peculiarly a very isolated process, yet a very interactive process. Deep introspection is often required in the writing process. Writers often need to be “alone with their thoughts.” Yet, peer review and workshopping is an integral part of any writer’s life. All writers need collaboration, a second opinion, a new sets of eyes: no exceptions. Writing is unique in that two integral aspects are contrary: seclusion and a network of support.

 

If you're a writer, you've been here before.
If you’re a writer, you’ve been here before.

Writing Isn’t Easy

Throughout my short time in the Sweetland Minor in Writing program, I’ve discovered that while I’ve always struggled to get a piece of writing started I’m certainly not alone. Being surrounded by some of the best writers around our campus has been a wonderful experience for numerous reasons, but I think the best aspect for me so far has been realizing that even the best of writers struggle sometimes. It’s not easy to simply sit down and write an essay, or even an interesting idea. It takes consistent effort and revision in nearly every case, even for a group of talented writers. I feel comfort in knowing this because I’ve always believed that the opposite held true. For whatever reason, writing seems to be one of the few lines of work where even if you have all of the natural talent in the world, you still have to put in a lot of hard work in order to achieve success. For anyone out there who is reading this: if you find yourself struggling to get a good start on your writing, or if it’s not coming along, you’re most certainly not alone. However, from the looks of these posts and the work I have seen from members of my class, this is quite the talented group. Push on and keep at it, we’ll all be all right.

 

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Sometimes you just need to get started

Who Runs The World?

Writers are truly the heartbeat of the world. People say knowledge is power. Some of the worlds most educated and highly respected persons read the newspaper and scholarly journals and writers write those. Some even say that the Bible is law and that it governs whole religions of people. The apostles were writers too. Writers truly are the heartbeat of the world. We keep people thinking and questioning and knowing what is happening in our minds. We can truly lead the world by showing them our perspective. The perspective of the world is simply the perspective of the writer or the thoughts provoked by statements made by the writer.

Who run the world?
Writers have the power to run the world. Even Beyonce knows it!

Who runs the world? WRITERS!

Audience is Everything

Who? What? Where? When? and Why? – These are the essential questions. All of them, or at least some combination of them, will always govern our writing. But one sticks out from the rest. Which is that? Well from the title of this post, I think you have an idea.

It is The Who. And no, not the band, though they are fantastic. The Who is a writer’s audience and they will have their say in any piece of writing, no matter if it’s a dinky sports program or a 900-page biography of Abraham Lincoln (which I am currently reading).

We may not want to think about them. We may just want to write and say to hell with them. Well, there is one situation where that will certainly be quite alright: when the audience is yourself. I keep a journal, and I only use that space to talk to myself, so I can write whatever suits me. Oddly, I always make it very conversational, even though I’m the only one who reads it. It’s a strange melding of writer me and physical me.

But forgive me, I digress.

If the audience is anyone but yourself – and most times it will be – you have to pay them some mind. Writing aimlessly is writing unproductively. Who will read this? Who will want to read this? That is what you need to ask yourself and keep in mind throughout the process. It holds true for academic writing and all other forms, except when you write for yourself, which I have already mentioned.

Just imagine your audience standing over your shoulder while you’re writing. Would that sentence make sense to them? Would this be confusing? Do I need to explain this better? How appealing will all of this be? You will find you have produced something of quality if you remember who’s going to read it.

Don’t forget The Who. Audience is everything.

Identify_Your_Audience

Nobody Really Knows How To Write: A Bold Proclamation

My bold proclamation about writing is that nobody really knows how to write.

You may be thinking to yourself, “that’s a lie! I write every day, so clearly I know how. You wrote these words I’m reading, so clearly you know how too. Millions of people write every day in essays, books, blogs, and even notebooks, so it seems that everyone knows how.”

While its true that almost everyone writes and thus has the ability to put words down in succession, I don’t believe that anyone knows “how”. And by “how”, I mean the method one uses in order to get those words on the page.

We take writing classes and complete assignments in pursuit of learning “how” to write. Nevertheless, there is no consensus on what this “how” is. And nobody has been able to explain what I should do when I’m stuck or what the rules are when I’m not.

I recently attended a live interview with a fairly accomplished author and teacher of writing who herself said that she has no method for writing, no steps to take. She couldn’t describe exactly how she writes in any real or concrete way.

If someone like that doesn’t know the “how,” how could mere students know? Let alone those who’ve never taken a writing class.

Nobody really knows how to write. We’re all stabbing blindly in the dark.

Bold Proclamation

You cannot seem well-educated if you aren’t at least a decent writer. How’s that for a bold proclamation? Go ahead, get offended. Disagree with me. Challenge me. That’s all good and well. Will you be able to adequately argue your perspective to me though? Because that too will depend on your skill as a writer.

 

You can be a creative genius, a math wiz—plenty of other things, sure. I didn’t say that you couldn’t be a genius. But in a world where even casual conversation takes place in large part over text message or email, you will sound quite ignorant indeed if you can’t keep your grammar and punctuation in its right place.

 

You need not have brilliant metaphors nor creative rhetoric running through you—not all of us can be Ernest Hemmingway and Kurt Vonnegut. You just need to be able to send a written correspondence or express your opinion using your words.

LOL
LOL

Writing: Saying What Others Wont

Saying what others wont–that is what sets writers apart. Dreaming what has never been dreamt–that is what makes fantasy come to life. Doing what others won’t do–that is what makes a story worth reading. I strive to be a speaker, a dreamer, a do-er, a writer. My consciousness is a constant stream of thought that flows from pen to paper, and from paper to countless minds.

Moreover, good writing has a purpose; this purpose can present itself in many ways, and at different moments for each individual reader. A written purpose is immortal, and immortality can only exist in writing. Unlike other art (paintings, music, sculptures, etc), writing has the power to convey a message that strays from the abstract while remaining creative. This creativity allows writing to create a timeless portal through time, appreciated by generations to come. Writing is a small pebble in a river, forever advanced by the changing current. Which way the river will flow is up to you. Create, innovate, and challenge the status quo…I dare you.

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Albert Einstein is a man who possessed the qualities that a great writer must also possess. His curiosity and dedication changed the world forever.

 

Writing is everywhere.

It's the truth.
It’s the truth.

Writing is a part of everyday life. Whether you’re an author, teacher, doctor, architect or any other profession you can think of, I can almost 100% guarantee that you will spend some slice of your day writing. Different professions require different skill levels, mediums and formats of writing…but at the end of the day, writing is writing. And it’s everywhere.

I suppose that is my bold proclamation. Writing is everywhere. It may not seem like much, but to me it means a whole lot. I think writing is skill that everyone should have, regardless of the career path they may choose. Writing is a way of communication and that is key in the workplace. I remember back in high school when other students would question why they needed to learn about nit-picky grammar rules because “they would never have to use them in the real world.” Well, I disagree.

I think that being able to write is a very coveted skill in everyday life. Putting your words on paper, whether it be in print or text, is a way to communicate who you are as a person. It’s not only what you write that matters, but how you write can also give others a glimpse into who you are. When applying for jobs, writing skills matter. And the truth is, you will be judged on these skills. I can promise that a poorly written cover letter, resume, or even email will reflect badly on your image.

I truly think that writing is a skill that every student should acquire, because it is a skill that is used everyday. That is why I am so thankful to be a part of this minor, because I know that I will be perfecting a skill that is relevant in whatever profession I end up in.

 

The BOLDEST of Proclamations on Writing.

When it comes to writing, I’m stubborn and spoiled. I’ve always reserved writing for those who have something to write about. I’ve never considered myself a person with something to say. Why should I write if I have nothing to say? Why should I express my thoughts in writing if they have no purpose?

This all sounds sort of depressing (believe me, I’m okay), but I think there’s some truth to it. I have always held the belief that the best books are those that are clearly very real; those that are written by an author who actually lived whatever it is that he or she is writing about. Examples: On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Obviously, there are many many exceptions to this definition of “good books,” but generally, I think the idea holds.

Anyway, for the longest time, I was basically just waiting for something to write about. I figured when I become a resident in the hospital, I’ll write a book about my experiences or something. Maybe then I’ll have something to say.

But lately, I realized that the event is much less important than the way it’s told — Writing 220 has shown me this. I have learned to make something from seemingly-unimportant events and memories from my past. Take my previous examples: On the Road is about a few relatively eventless trips across the US, and The Sun Also Rises is about a fishing trip in Spain and a bull-fight. (Admittedly, In Cold Blood stands as an insane story, but nonetheless it would just be another murder if the story was not told so brilliantly.)

So I guess, my bold proclamation is that writing is not for those who have experienced, but for those who, with courage, can say they’ve experienced. “Write” is a verb, after all. If you want to be a writer, you can’t just wait around for something to write about.

Oh Writing…

Writing is hard.

Even as a 20 year old, writing minor, I still contest that writing is hard. Getting those first few words out on the paper is always a challenge. And honestly, I think that this will continue to be the case even as I mature as a writer. However, the fact that writing is a challenge makes writing better. Every time I write I am forced to go out of my comfort zone and produce something I am proud of.

Writing requires thought.

Even if I am mindlessly writing, it still requires thinking. That is one of the aspects I love most about writing. It requires me to think, and dig deeper about each thought I have. Putting thoughts down in writing are permanent. They are physical, no longer just thoughts bouncing around in one’s mind.

Writing has the ability to heal.

I am not one to be preachy, but I do think that writing has the power to heal. I find writing to be a form of therapy. When I am upset, or overwhelmed, I will write. Whether or not I write about what is bothering me, or something completely different, I almost always feel relieved after I am done. Even if it is something as simple as writing a to-do list, writing does have the ability to heal.

image-via-toonpool.com_

 

Writing is powerful.