I have considered myself a writer for years, but sometimes I read things which remind me that 90% of the writing I do is the equivalent of slapping blobs of fingerpaints with flat, open hands. People like Dervala (my Dad just sent me that today) and Sars (I’m a longtime fan of hers) are much more on the fine art side of things – they paint pictures with their words. Beautiful pictures. Sad pictures. Hilarious, side-splitting pictures. So much of my writing is spattery blobs – effective for getting colors onto paper, but not exactly artistic.
Whenever I think that I should work more on my writing and try to really get a handle on writing as well as the writers I admire, I find myself making weak excuses. I don’t have time, I say, because I am so busy with work, Aikido, and my reviews (which all too often feel rushed to me).
But excuses do not lead to improved writing; writing leads to improved writing. I think from now on, when I read something that makes me go, “I wish I wrote that well,” I should close that window and actually write something.

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2 Responses to Writing

  1. ricky says:

    It’s just my opinion, but I think if you aspire to WRITE and not just write, you should close your window and try telling stories.
    When I was in the English department, and for years afterwards, when I was “freelancing”–you know, tending bar–everyone I knew, including me, was so obsessed with “writing”.
    We were constantly comparing paragraphs, story titles, perfect phrases.
    And we were all ignoring the fact that our stories were so goddammed boring.
    And, it’s true, as I got older, I didn’t turn out to be a professional writer. But I think I became a better writer the less I cared about the writing and the more I cared about what I what I was writing.
    Though, that’s a matter of opinion, of course.
    But I still get a bigger kick out of people reading me then writng a perfect sentence that nobody ever reads.

  2. Ealasaid says:

    Hey, Ricky –
    Yeah, I think know what you mean. The tricky part is that when I say “write” I mean “write reviews, feature articles, short stories, and novels” because I do all of that. What gives me trouble with articles and features is that I have trouble putting what I want to say into words. When I read other writers, they express things so clearly! My stuff seems really muddled and circuitous.
    I think need to just stop fussing and write. I have noticed a serious improvement in my novel-writing abilities every year I’ve done NaNoWriMo. Just writing and not staring at the screen and agonizing is what makes that improvement happen, at least for me.