The Word: Writing

Writing is tough. Even with that first little sentence, all these rules and ideas come crashing through my brain exploding and jumbling into one big blur a GPS couldn’t even direct one out of to understanding.

There are some exceptions to the rules. Poets seem to make their own grammar rules and six year olds can write anything and anyone who reads it will instantly coo over it and applaud it.

Identifying the writing types can be relatively simple. Look for a notepad or a notebook filled with scribbles resembling an alien language that sometimes not even the author can decipher. When stricken with a writing bug they toss and turn at night, losing sleep as the bug plants a powerful idea in their minds consuming them, disrupting their lives, manifesting into an obsession.

Writers are a rare breed in our world today. Years of research papers, reflection essays, short answer response questions and the innumerable hand cramps harden kids against the appeal of writing. When a friend says they have a paper due, it sounds like a grim death sentence met with nods of sympathy from their peers. It is something one must do to pass a class, and we do it begrudgingly with groans of resentment. So why on earth would anyone want to do this to themselves in their free time for – can it be possible – FUN?

The answer lies beneath the academic pressures and rules of writing. Besides those guidelines there is something undeniably pure and beautiful about writing. I resolve to reclaim and revive this art form from the horrid connotations students associate with it.

There are various strategies writers use to rise above the roadblocks of writing to generate a great piece of writing. Some work with muses. There are of course those that get their best ideas sitting on the toilet. Some work best camping out in coffee shops or dimly lit bedrooms strung out on caffeine. Myself? I turn to my favorite quote from Ernest Hemingway – actually probably the only writing from Hemingway that I like – “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That is the beauty and significance of writing. It is raw, real and alive. By simply combining words on a page you can inspire, create and imagine. The possibilities are endless. When writing, you are a painter without the paintbrush and spattered clothes painting just as vivid of a picture, sometimes creating an entirely new world by using one medium with more depth than any other art form. Nothing compares to the tremendous power a person receives when wielding words.

Because of this power, writing takes courage. It takes serious moxy to splay your inner thoughts on a page and allow others to read them, to show the world how you manipulate words to expose your innermost thoughts and opinions. It is therapeutic, expressive, risky and involved. The way you write shows a lot about you even if your thoughts don’t reveal much personal information. It makes you vulnerable to criticism and judgment of others that can cripple you. Your use of the written language can ignite a feud, demand respect or attention, negotiate peace, spark a romance and, it sounds cliché, change you and every aspect of your life.

Thus as the semester starts up again and you learn your professor requires five dense research papers, don’t let it bog you down. Channel your inner Hemingway or find another writer to use as your own muse and let your power flow through your words.

Here’s hoping you find the courage in yourself to unlock your words and give your writing power.



3 thoughts on “The Word: Writing

  1. Words are important…take a look as this clip from the West Wing…it loses its point after about a minute and a half, but up to that point…it’s good writing…good speaking and a great use of the spoken word…see for yourself:

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