Let’s Have Better Writing

The world needs better writers.  We don’t necessarily need more of them, but we certainly do need better ones than we currently have.  Nowhere is the void of good creative writing more abundant than in the niche of comedy writing.  It’s difficult to say how such a chasm was allowed to grow, but it happened nonetheless.  The world of drama is a constantly overflowing cup.  Plenty of people think they’ve got great ideas and just as many think that these ideas can be easily turned into successful books or movies or what have you.  That’s the problem right there: people think it’s easy and neglect the simple fact that writing is a process.  We need better writers, but we also need writers to want to be better writers and that last part is perhaps the most difficult thing to get through to people.

There are lots of different people in the world, but most of the people who want to do things and don’t are people who want to do something but don’t.  Everyone wants to do something, sitting down and actually doing it takes a lot of patience and a lot of drive, it also takes a great deal of self-discipline and that’s something that not everyone can harness.  I use to think that anyone could be a writer then I started reading what some people wrote and I was not only discouraged from this notion, I almost stopped believing it altogether.  But, I like to think that most people are fundamentally good and do truly want to do something good for the world.  However good our intentions may be sometimes we need to understand our rationale behind doing things.

If one is writing for fame then they should stop writing and do more thinking.  Think about why someone else would want to read what you’re writing.  If you sit back and say: “why wouldn’t someone want to read what I write?” then you have an ego issue.  It’s not that you can’t write with a huge ego; many writers do, but you cannot write well while you’re on an ego trip.  Great writing is done because the writer allows himself or herself to be in the audience’s shoes for a minute.  A great writer delivers the goods regardless of how that writer feels about their own fame, glory, or ultimate benefit.  One should only write for the sake of writing and for the sake of getting good ideas on paper.  Writers are very much utilitarian’s, but they are utilitarian’s with purpose; they don’t merely write to write they write because they know that what they write can bring enjoyment to others.  Writing with one’s ego removed is perhaps the most selfless thing a writer can do and it is one thing that all writers should hope to achieve in their careers.

Tupac Shakur had a line in one of his songs: “when I write rhymes I go blind and let the Lord do his thing.”  I think that, whatever your feeling is about rap music or the hip-hop community in general, you can take these words as a writer and apply them to what you do.  Even if you don’t believe in God you can use these words because writers write best when they think least.  This is not to say that writing is devoid of higher meaning or missing some greater purpose, quite the opposite in fact.  When you write without thinking your brain communicates to your fingers and you don’t have to look back upon what you’ve written with as much scrutiny as you may normally have to because you trust yourself enough to know that what you’re writing is pure in and of itself.  Moments of sanguine understanding happen infrequently, but if one writes enough their frequency will increase as the more you write the better you write.  Experience in anything breeds competence in something.

What we choose to write about is almost as important as when we choose to write about it.  When we write in anger we often leave out the more salient points and academic details, this can be good if we are writing something where emotion plays a key role like writing autobiographically or writing poetry, but when writing serious prose writing in anger can often be far more dangerous than it can be rewarding.  The same can be said for writing out of fear.  We often hold back when we write out of fear and if we are to achieve a higher understanding then we can only leave out the information that is universally accepted by us and our audience.  If I am writing about bees I should include the fact that I am (and always have been) absolutely terrified of them, but I probably do not need to include the fact that they can fly because my audience can likely envision that for themselves and adding that fact adds nothing to the story.

All in all, writing is a noble calling just as most things worth doing are, but it is not for those who do not want or for whatever reason cannot put their absolute all into their work.  There are times when a writer will simply write for the sake of writing, in fact many times a writer will simply write for the sake of writing for the writer hopes that in writing about nothing they will find that they have written about something.  Whether or not this effective is up to the individual writer and very much depends on what the writer is writing about.  I am used to writing very long pieces, but when I realize I have made my point sometimes I’ll stop and come to a conclusion because what I am writing no longer needs exculpatory evidence.  These moments are few and far between, but the happen enough that they remind me that writing less can in some ways be writing more.  An old Hebrew proverb says that: “a wise man hears one word and understands two,” I think that statement is true also for the writer however wise one may be.

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