I intend to write about writing better. I have been interested in the processes whereby one learns to write. Among those processes are learning to write by:
- Beginning to write and continuing to write.
- Reading for pleasure and about writing.
- Trying to see how your favorite writers do it.
- Studying under good teachers.
- Forming or joining a writing group.
- Reading certain posts about writing
I find that I learn by writing these posts. I hope to pass on to you that which I am learning.
When you really want to improve your writing, a very agreeable and productive activity is participating in a writing group. Your writing group of individuals wanting to better there writing can help you greatly in may ways. I intend to go into some of those ways later. One important way I will mention right now is feedback. Members of your writing group will learn to how others have felt about and thought about that which you write.
When you care to share an experience, information, or understanding related to better writing please feel welcome to pass it on here. Use the Comment section below.
I believe that one can learn a lot by helping others to better their craft. One can do that in a writing group, right here, as a professional teach, in your published works.
Mr. Peter Elbow who is a fine teacher of writing and has published works on writing, seems to have thought of writing as an important personal growth process. I remember him writing something like: How an organism becomes grown and matured is highly pertinent to writing. One is not surprised by the changes in the writer and his writing from the beginning to the end of a given piece of writing. One expects them. It is natural for the writer to begin a work believing X rather than Y and then ends that work believing Y rather than X.
Peter, a writer on writing I appreciate greatly, wrote of a writing "center of gravity." The list below includes ways I have gathered from him for getting a center of gravity or unifying theme to emerge in my writing:
- Start writing X because it seems more believable than Y. Note as you write about X what you are beginning to understand about y.
- Continue your struggle with X and Y and see C come up.
- As you write along you may honestly say, "Ah, now I see what I have been getting at.
- Finish what you are writing about. Put it aside for a time. See useful implications as you look it over again.
- See that your good idea is crap. Then see that that part of the crap looks less crappy. You sort-out good parts from bad. You don't have to throw it away. In fact some of it may be better than your favorite idea.
- Your first writing may prove a good scaffolding for your next writing.
- You find a powerful spark in a tiny digression. You keep the same elements of your work, but change the whole orientation for the better.
- As you progress in your writing be alert to emerging focus of theme.
- If nothing emerges, sum up what you have written, then sum it up again.
- Push yourself a bit to keep getting some center of gravity or summing up to occur.
- Work gradually toward moderation from extreme positions.
And like that.
by Richard Sheehan
for Mago Bill III