Writing…

I came across this quote on a well-written blog that is suffering from postimus rarerus.

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. Lawrence Kasdan

As a writer, I can relate to that. I believe what Kasdan is saying is that writers are never without something to do, or needs doing. We are never “off the job” so to speak.

There is another sense to that “homework” idea that is important. Homework is a special kind of work, work that is focused on improving a skill, in this case the craft of writing. Kasdan is also saying that writers are never finished improving their skill. However, this effort at getting better cannot be haphazard, since homework is structured, with specific goals in mind.

I have often said that writing is rewriting. There have been very few Mozarts in human history, those who once putting pen to paper, do not need to edit the first draft, having already written it in the studio of their mind. The rest of us (99.99999%), have to work it out on the paper (or computer screen), and most of the time don’t know where we are going until we get there. Our road maps, if they can be can even be called that, are rudimentary at best. Even my “in-process” story on the first 24 hours of Moses’ life as an Egyptian has continued to change as I interact with what I have already written. Yes, the story does have certain requirements, based on the history and the biblical record, but once I zoomed in on the hour-by-hour events of what that day must of been like, things took on a life of their own.

This post is a good example. I started with the quote and have arrived here, trying to balance the fluidity of the writing process with the framework you start with. My original idea was to focus on the sense of demand, of the never-ending need to say something using the printed word. I went somewhere else.

That is where blogging and writing on a tight schedule with limited time is so different from traditional writing. The rewriting is minimal. While I do have some rare posts that sit in the edit bin for days or weeks and are subject to real rewriting, the common effort circumscribes mostly spelling and grammar corrections. Sorry but with the time limitations I have, that is all you get. It is not quite stream of consciousness, but it is close. However, over time, as I have disciplined myself to regular posting/writing, even these limited review efforts have become better written, more tightly organized, sometimes even good. My skill is gradually increasing (thank God!).

When you come down to it, there is only one way to become a better writer and that is to write. That takes time and effort, and like it or not, rewriting. So here is to my continuing to scribble/type my thoughts and ideas, and you hopefully finding something worthwhile in the effort. After all, what is writing without readers? This is not a private journal.

Grace and peace to your day and may God richly bless all of our efforts to develop the talent He has given us into worthwhile skills. Amen.

  2 comments for “Writing…

  1. November 15, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Wonderful post!

  2. November 15, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Yes, I sometimes think that I would like to write one day, and I worry a bit that blogging might make me develop some bad habits.

    Good post. Ted Hooser has similar advice for writing poetry: “Show up for work.”

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