Writing To Make Sense

Since my time off over the Christmas break, I’ve been having a good hard think about why I write.

Reflecting on what compels me to sit down and write, has also turned my thoughts to who I’m writing for and the time and effort I intend to commit to it.

One of the most valuable benefits of writing, is it helps me clarify my thoughts, make important decisions and lends a sense of direction and purpose.

It’s no surprise then, that reflecting on why I write has given me a new feeling of proprietorship towards my wee project here, and I’m pretty excited to see what the year brings and watching my blog develop and grow.

Why I Write

  1. Express myself eloquently.  Some people are born story tellers with an intrinsic sense of timing, razor-sharp wit and the ability to seamlessly sort their thoughts into informed, interesting and persuasive arguments.  While I can have moments of brilliance, (at least I think so anyway) my phonetic abilities are much more placid, and with a tendency to go off on tangents I’m far more comfortable with editorial’s fact-checking process to filter my chronic foot-in-mouth condition.
  2. Hone the craft.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but writing is work. There’s lots of guidance out there for budding writers, but the one invariable piece of advice from writers (apart from being widely read, which really isn’t work at all) is to write.  Write, write, write.  So, here I am.
  3. Hashing it out.  There’s a bewildering amount of information out there and frankly I’m disturbed by peoples’ proclivity to get caught up in the hype with little or no information.  Hey I love a good bandwagon as much as the next clown, but in many cases I’m reluctant to form an opinion about something I don’t know anything about. Writing gives me the opportunity to do my own research, thrash out my thoughts and feels and draw my own conclusions.
  4. Encourage discussion, harvest ideas.  As much as I enjoy chilling at home and tapping away at the key board on my lonesome, discussion is what really gets the ideas flowing.  When other people share their thoughts, experiences and feels in response to my writing, it often sheds light on another angle or idea that hadn’t crossed my mind, and an opportunity to hear opinions different to my own.
  5. To inspire others:  I gain inspiration from all around me, and if I can inspire and entertain my readers, well that’s the cherry on top.

So how about the rest of you?  Why do you write?  Who are you writing for?


Writing Well: Magical Modifiers

Re-blogging this piece so I can read and re-read it time and again

Live to Write - Write to Live

road hell adverbsEvery once in a while, you come across a discovery that gives you the opportunity to transform your writing. This post is about just such a discovery.

The road to hell is paved with adverbs, so says Stephen King. And, who am I to argue with Mr. King.

In Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, forbids his students to use the word very (the most heinously bland and meaningless modifier of them all), “… because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose.”

The case against adverbs is a strong one, with revered authors from every era and genre giving impassioned testimony against this eternal enemy of good writing:

  • “Adverbs are another indication of writing failure. Exactly the right verb can eliminate the need for the adverb.” William Sloane
  • “Omit needless words. Watch for adverbs that merely repeat…

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