On Writing

Writing. So many things to love and hate about writing.

I love creating something out of nothing.

I hate staring at a blank page.

I love how writing can connect me to people I’ve never met, places I’ve never been, and ideas I’ve never heard.

I hate how writing can be used to manipulate.

When it comes to writing there are always questions I ask myself. Am I being clear? Am I overwriting this? Is this my voice? Obviously it depends on what I happen to be writing though. Sometimes I don’t want it to be clear. Sometimes I want it overwritten. And sometimes I don’t want it to be my voice. I need it to be the voice of someone completely opposite of me. Can I even do that?

I suppose that’s the beauty and power of words though, of language. We all have the ability to string a few words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into books. We’ve had this ability since we first learned to write. Nowadays perhaps it’s most important to consider structure. To consider if what you write actually flows and makes sense to the reader. However at that point are we pandering to the reader? Is that what we want our writing to become?

Writing to me right now has to be about myself. If it becomes about writing for someone else I fear that I’ll lose any and all passion I have for it. Take sports for example. When kids stop enjoying sports for one reason or another, the love is gone and they don’t care if they play poorly. You can see it when it happens and it’s a sad sight. I don’t want that to happen with me and writing. I want to write because I want to write. I don’t want to write because you want me to write.

My nephew once said, “I want to talk life myself.” At first look that sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Of course you talk like yourself, who else would you talk like? But he’s young and he’s in school so I’m sure he’s being “taught” how to talk. How to behave. How to write. Is there a point in learning when you no longer are yourself? Are we all clones of one another?

Writing is something most of us only really do in school for the beginning of our life. Thus we are graded on our writing. If we don’t match an accepted system it’s considered incorrect.

I had a writing internship with an online website a few years ago and I was required to edit according to the Associated Press Stylebook. Now, I wasn’t a journalism student in college so this was something brand new to me, but honestly I just couldn’t handle it. A stylebook on how to write? That to me just takes out all the personality of writing.

A writer is an author is a writer is an author. Let one write how one writes and if no one can understand it, well, then perhaps you have an issue and the writer can decide if they want to change their style or not.

Andy RiddleComment