Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why write?

With a world that places more and more emphasis on the visual, on the vicarious, why should anyone spend any time writing?  Perhaps that in itself is enough of a reason.

A lot of people are writing all the time.  They're texting here, they're texting there, but are they saying anything?  Are they saying anything of any depth?  I signed up on Twitter, but couldn't Tweet.  I tried to, but immediately felt myself turning into a Chinese fortune cookie. For me, I need the substance, the desire to delve thoughts, ideas and place them on the alter of sharing.

I asked a music teacher once what made a professional, and she said it wasn't money, it was how you approached your art, the effort you put into your craft.  Good writing isn't easy.  It's difficult and takes a lot of work. 

I thought, when I was in High school, that my English teacher could write a book.  It seemed he had a solid understanding of literature and technique.  I was wrong.  You can ride on the winged Pegasus of  Blake, but when it gets right down to it, you have to face what you can and can not do.  If you have trouble with dialogue, then you have to confess and set about correcting you deficiency.  If you have difficulty with timing, then you've got to study artists whose timing is impeccable.  But I suppose the key here is recognizing that your work has a problem, because once you do that, then you can fix it.

I've noticed that some writers refuse to rip their own prose apart.  As a result they never improve.  If you are reading a friend's work, please, if the characters are wooden and flat, tell them.  It might be the best thing you ever do for them.  However, if the person giving the advice is wooden and two dimensional...which leads me to the point that writing, good writing, is difficult, but there is nothing like it.