These things I know about writing - Seriously

These things I know about writing - Seriously

(Note: This is part of the Chicago Now project to have all of us bloggers list "Seven things I know about writing.")

I know what I like and what I don't. I like being creative. I don't like repetitive headlines and numbered lists. (Thus the headline here.)

Technology doesn't make you a better writer. It makes you a faster transmitter. That is not necessarily a good thing.

When a word is no longer being used properly, or when the general population doesn't agree on its proper usage, the idea behind it dies. If it's confused with another word, we may lose two ideas at once. Podium or lectern? Disinterested or uninterested?

When I see or hear words being used poorly, I feel like I'm being deprived of one of my tools. It's just as if my dad's workbench or my mom's sewing machine were missing something.

The least effective thing anyone can tell me is "You know what I mean!" In speaking, at least he can hear me say "No, I don't." In writing, I'm lost.

If someone's writing is a good influence on mine, I'll read (or watch) whatever subject he presents. But writers who are bad influences, whether from foul or poor vocabulary, weak structure, or inexact ideas, lose me. If I happen to love the subject they're failing to present, that hurts.

I can think of whole pieces of music and listen to them in my mind's ear. I can think of rooms where I saw great paintings and other works of art, and I can picture the contents of those rooms in my mind's eye. But when it comes to getting those ideas to another person, I need words.


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  • Well-said! and beautifully written.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you. I try!

  • Good points. I don't much care for lists either. Whenever I use them I feel I'm taking the easy way out. I share your esteem for the written word. Mark Twain once said (and I paraphrase) that the difference between a word and the right word is like the difference between a lightning bug and lightning.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you for the kind words -- and the esteem. Your paraphrase of Twain is accurate, apt, and welcome. He's another of my favorites.

  • Technology may make writing better if the spellchecker detects an error and suggests a proper resolution of it. The grammar checker usually is worthless. As any newspaper comment board demonstrates, technology does not make anyone think or express oneself better.

    One stands behind the lectern but on the podium, although apparently not according to some web dictionaries.

    As for words being used poorly, I remember the prior discussion about dropping ly from adverbs.

  • In reply to jack:

    I hear ya!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:
  • In reply to jack:

    That's fun, thanks!

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