Writing about writing. It is kind of like machines building machines. The idea might sound abominable, but reading about writing can influence style, generate ideas and build confidence. Reading in general trains the brain to recognize aesthetic patterns and phrases that work well and is just as important to a writer as the act of writing. Reading specifically about writing utilizes critical thinking as the reader absorbs explicit concepts, which can be incorporated into the writing.
“I have so much stuff to say, I simply don’t know how to say it.” This notion bounced around in my head for the last several minutes. As a professional writer, I must constantly transfer my thoughts to the page while making them fun and interesting to the reader. It’s not always easy, but practice and confidence give a sharp edge. The key is to simply start writing. Just write anything. It takes a few sentences, but eventually the words will string together and the sentences will flow. Before long, pages upon pages become filled. Looking back, there might be a lame expression here or an incoherent sentence there, but revising is fun and once the gist becomes relevant, it becomes much easier to pen a stunning opening. Writing is much like exercise. Getting started is the hardest part, but the act itself becomes fun, and afterward, you are glad you did it.
Whether emailing a friend, drafting a business letter, crafting a story or writing a personal journal, the principles of writing remain the same. The reader must connect the new knowledge with what he already knows to create a fresh understanding of the subject. Because of this, it is important to keep the audience in mind. Even if you are writing for yourself, the knowledge that it’s for your eyes only will relieve some pressure and let your muse sing freely.
The availability of the Internet has instilled a notion that anyone can become a writer. Just as not everyone with legs should be a track star, the ability to be read does not necessitate being a writer. Learning how to express oneself is a wonderful thing, but as a writer-reader, it is important to recognize poor writing and refrain from being influenced. In addition to providing shining examples of good writing, the Internet offers plenty of websites that specialize in writing. Writer’s Helper contains general tips on every aspect of writing. Daily Writing Tips lives up to its name, expounding a wealth of writing-related information. For industry information, check out Writers Block, a site that focuses on networking and connections in the writing world. When in doubt, write. Just get it done. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can edit it later. In time, people could be using your work to influence their own writing.
A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
At the beginning of all experimental work stands the choice of the appropriate technique of investigation. ~ Walter Rudolf Hess
I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener
In the upcoming second edition of Taking Charge, we have a chapter on research that defines methods and modes of research in different spheres of your life—such as personal, educational, and professional.