Friday, October 19, 2012

Back to the Beginning: Write Today, Tomorrow and Tomorrow

In nearly three years, 141 posts including today’s, I’ve offered insights into

·      resumés that float to the top among candidates,
·      persuasive cover letters for work and scholarship searches,
·      and other academic writing tasks, especially the dreaded and oft assigned researched analytical essay.

I’ve also reviewed many classic writing patterns that shape language into works of art; these patterns include

·      tropes such as metaphors and metonomy,
·      short, emphatic sentences, and
·      other syntactical choices made by professionals.

Many posts have been devoted to villains and heroes, two of many conventional characters. Archetypal themes and story lines from novels, short stories, and film have been examined for your enhanced understanding, all undertaken in keeping with the philosophy that the more you know, the more you understand, the more empowered you are as both a reader and a writer.

Using the Flipcard feature of Blogger (upper left, black bar, downward-pointing arrow will provide a list of formats), you can see the many titles and topics for My Writing and Editing Coach. You can also scroll using Timeslide. Either of these will help you navigate 141 posts; each will allow you to review the blog to see what it has to offer you.

For those of you with lots of time on your hands, you will find that the blog began as an online writing text--a workbook that you can use to begin and sustain a writing habit. Each post since the beginning has offered a Writing Challenge as well as one for reading and a GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics) review.

How many of you, I wonder, are writing? How many of you are parents who have made the students in your lives aware of this blog? It is a series of lessons by a teacher for students of all ages, and these lessons will smooth the rough edges of both high school and college English. They will also stand once formal education has been put aside in favor of lifelong learning. So, if you have not already done so . . .

Begin a writing habit today. Writing helps you remember and discover. It also clarifies your thinking as nothing else can or will. For example, last night, on the new CBS series, Elementary, Sherlock Holmes asked Watson to stop talking in favor of listening so that Sherlock could speak aloud his analyses. He said that talking helped him think and see more clearly. Writing does the same, but serves us better. A spoken story exists for the moment only; writing becomes a treasure trove that we can return to again and again.

Exercise your mind while making art. The act of writing begets more writing, and writing improves, especially if you spend some of your day reading and thereby internalizing the ways in which other people communicate most effectively to you. Writing, in other words, stimulates writing and so does reading.

Leave your legacy in deed and in words. Let those you care for know who you are, what moves you, what has challenged you. We may miss each other unless we take pains to reveal ourselves for ourselves and those who care about us.

So if have come late to this blog, remember its overarching purpose: to inspire you and guide you to write. Join me in writing. It is one of life’s greatest joys.

Reading Challenge:

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold

Find other quotations about writing by writers at editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/72-of-the-best-quotes-about-writing.

Writing Challenge:

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, WD (WD = Writer’s Digest, a print and online publication referenced above)

Can you be ruthless? Ruthlessness is essential to the writing process.

GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics):

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

Of course, writers know and master grammar as well as correct usage and mechanics. They use their mastery when preparing synopses, corresponding with editors and publishers, and for academic writing. But as Elmore Leonard observes, being too proper may not serve the story so tell your story beautifully and truly.