Writing Better

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

                 

 


Taoist Quotes

I find something attractive about a philosopher who laughs with me. You may too. You may also enjoy some of the later Taoist writers. Much of their writing is witty and accessible. Much is wise and useful.

Here are the English translations of a few of their sayings:

+ Accept the reality of the available freedom.

+ Easy does it.

+ Attend to your energy reserve.

+ No regrets.

+ Set your burden down and enjoy the water.

+ The door is not locked.

+ Peacefully rejoice in reality.

+ Know the joyful security of wandering where there is no path.

+Enjoy your wit and romantic adventures.

+ Is it really so.

+ Great knowledge and long life.

+ Be little moved by praise and blame.

+ Discriminate.

+ Be clear about the the nature of honor and discrace.

+ Small self, little vanity.

+ Know the rule without ruling.

+ know you.

+ Be willing to know the quality of your perception.

+ Let go of the clutter and the trivia.

+Nothing is useless.

+ All is useful.

+ As you smell the roses , hear the music.

+ As you speak, be aware of how little you know.

+ Nothing depends on your point of view.

+ Your opinion is changing this instant.

+ Let them be.

+ How can we understand it all in one day.

+ Clarify your understanding today.

+ Embrace reality.

 

What do they all mean. Seems that's up to us now. Try reading them again. One might serve you well today.

 

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill

 


James Hoban knew the White House Well

He was born in Ireland in 1758 and died in Washington, DC in 1831.

He did important architectural work in the Mid Atlantic and Southern states.  

He was the designer and architect of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Mr. Hoban also supervised the restoration of the White House after it was destroyed in the War of 1812. 

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago  Bill

 


From Taoist Writers of Around About 1700

I find something attractive about a philosopher who laughs with me. I have enjoyed the humor of certain Chinese Taoists. I find much of their writing witty and accessible. Much is also wise and usable.

Their use of a phrase like the following has moved my thinking and perceiving in useful ways:

  • Accept the reality of the available freedom.
  • Easy does it.
  • Attend to your energy reserve.
  • No regrets.
  • Set your burden down and enjoy the water. 
  • The door is not locked.
  • Peacefully rejoice in reality.
  • Know the joyful security wandering where there is no path.
  • Enjoy your wit and romantic adventures.
  • Is it really so?
  • Great knowledge and long life.
  • How do you know that it is so?
  • Be little moved by praise and blame
  • Discriminate.
  • Be clear about the nature of honor and disgrace.
  • Small self, little vanity.
  • Know the rule without ruling.
  • Know you
  • Be willing to know the quality of your perception.
  • Let go of the clutter and the trivia.
  • Nothing is useless.
  • All is useful.
  • As you smell the roses, hear the music.
  • Nothing depends on your point of view.
  • As you speak, be aware of how little you know.
  • Your opinion is changing at this instant
  • Let them be.
  • How can we understand it all in one day?
  • Clarify your understanding today,
  • Embrace reality.
  • Day-dream and smile. 

I guess I need to learn some taoist jokes. I did not include much humor here. Still, you might be moved to smile or laugh as you contemplate one of the phrases. 

 

 

by Richard Sheehan

for Mago Bill