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The Art of Writing

Pen sitting on journal

The Art of Writing

It seems that two of the most important subjects in our modern education are the two that plague us the most. Mathematics and English. Though I enjoy a slice of pre-calculus and algebra, they won't be discussed much for now. I want to offer some techniques for writing, in particular, creative writing. It is my experience that the more creative one is inclined to be, the easier the task - whether that's washing dishes to music or adding a unique perspective to an essay you thought you would hate.

It's easy to just say, "Write more and read more." In fact, it's easy to see why people say this. The more you read, the more accustomed to contextual language and proper grammar you become. The more you write, the more evident your voice and style. But the distance from the awkward mini-paragraphs to a few pages is a matter of focus and willingness to get the bad draft out.

I am no expert in writing; I am another example of someone who has a hard time just filling up a page. Sadly, there is no secret to writing, but there are a few facts. After you understand the facts, you will certainly have an easier time writing.

The only way to really write is the boring way

The first fact is that it is boring. The only way to really write is the boring way; no television, no games, and no distractions. Music without lyrics is often acceptable but music for most is a no-no. Most of the time, it's not the boring atmosphere of writing that keeps you from that first paragraph, it's the distractions that steal your focus. If you could focus for half an hour, I guarantee you would make more progress cognitively and put more on the page than you would have with six hours and Netflix playing in a tab behind your Google Docs.

The first draft is rarely perfect

The next fact is that the first draft is rarely perfect. This is a fact and a bit of a soft truth, because it reminds us all that everyone needs to revise, and that the very first thing to touch your page will not have to be the final product. Three pages of misspelled paragraphs will beat one nicely written paragraph any day, especially when you have an assignment or a blog post due in two days. Sometimes, starting the draft is one of the hardest parts, other times it’s figuring out how to communicate that one special message that you have in your head. The best advice that I have been given is to "Write about what you want to write about." Say, for example, that you want to write about a man who wants to become a citizen hero and his method of discovering a chemical algorithm for perfect health. Instead of crafting the story or crafting the logical sequence of the scientific methodology, just write. I want people to appreciate the scientist, the fact that he is a hard worker and his methodology.

In a sentence, sometimes the draft does not have to be a step off from perfect, it often serves the reader best if you describe your topic like a best friend. You introduce him, you tell us what we need to know about him and why we would want to meet him. Before you know it, you have addressed your audience and developed a conceptual argument for why your topic is important and what unique considerations you can offer us.

There aren't as many writing restrictions as you think

The final fact is that most people believe that they have more writing restrictions than they actually do. This one is a gift to anyone planning to add writing into their life as a dedicated task for work or school. With each school or branch of academia, the art of writing has its own cultural language. There are specific terms, common patterns of writing and mannerisms of communicating ideas. These are considerable things, but only in revision.