Why the Writing Thing …

January 2, 2009 § 11 Comments

For those who write, for whatever reason, this is a good time (the New Year’s beginning) to step back and look at it. I will say that writing is NEVER bad, never a waste, never time ill spent if the writer is communicating, even if only with oneself or a friend, or in business where good sound writing is critical to success (a topic on which this writer could expound for at least half a day).

1) writing is essential to any job, from teaching to training to being a team player to picking up trash. (Our trash man wrote a compelling Christmas card, and I dare say, he garnered some holiday cash from his customers, including us.)

2) writing is essential to stay in conversation with oneself. Not as in writing a letter to the self but in holding it up to see what’s there, not terribly unlike looking into a handheld mirror.

3) writing passes on stories, legends, myths, tradition. All of these are essential to the human species and tradition. Writing brings us to sit around the proverbial fire. It is from writing that we learn what was, what is and possibly what will be. And offers the oldest and purest form of entertainment.

4) writing shows a certain level of acuity, of daring, of being part of this world and pushing its boundaries in various atypical directions. Good writing holds us together; good writing separates us also, from the pack.

5) writing is exercise. And everyone knows what Americans think of exercise! Even if not acually performed, it must at least be discussed, knowledgeably.

6) writing is for everyone, is accessbile to everyone. I believe if it’s not in the Bill of Rights, it should be/have been. Surely they meant to include writing as part of the pursuit of happiness and worldliness.

7) writing is active; reading is passive. They go hand in hand. The latter can teach the former.

8. writing is always at hand. There is always a pen lying about somewhere, in the glove compartment, the handbag, behind the ear. There is always a napkin, a receipt, a menu  on which all manner of things can be written, jotted, remembered, shared.

9) writing isn’t always good. All writing is not good writing. This is of little matter if one is “working” on it, if one takes the terrier dog approach and sets one’s teeth into the pantleg of the book and shakes and worries and works it ’til the writing is ready for release. Biggest writing mistake: sending raw unfinished works out into the world where they cannot survive. Second biggest writing mistake: not knowing, as one work’s in the singular vaccum of writing, when the work is finished.

10) writing does not have to follow the write-agent-publishing house-publish path. This is a classic path, one that may lead to a bookstore window winner, but there are other forums and publishing ops. The serious writer, the patient writer, would do well to look to these. It is time.


The above might ideally should be followed by some announcement that I am starting an indie press, something I’ve thought about for a long time. Or, starting a magazine, also a consideration, but no. That is not the immediate case. The press, the connecting the dots among writers and artists will come soon, after my work in the corporate world to help support the collegiate world (Snarl) is accomplished.

In the meantime, I am open to assisting anyone by reading, editing, coaching and otherwise regarding their writing.
My creds and email are on my About page.

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§ 11 Responses to Why the Writing Thing …

  • eBookGuru says:

    writing is fun…. and for those of us who make our living doing it, it’s also a great career choice..


  • oh says:

    Trevas at eBookGuru is right – I forgot to list that writing is fun(agony). No, really, it’s fun.

  • floreta says:

    my favorite is #2. Writing is very essential for the soul.. but, i don’t agree with #6. it’s not accessible to the illiterate..

  • yolanda says:

    You know that list applies pretty much to all southern states and though funny a lot of it is true.

  • anno says:

    No, you are right: writing is agony; as it turns out, essential agony. Being done with it is fun. Unfortunately, because of #9, and my own deeply embedded terrier instincts, I feel like I am never done. I love the idea of you starting a magazine, though; do you have more ideas along those lines?

  • oh says:

    Hi, Floreta – thanks for stopping by. Guess I should clarify how I wish writing were accessbile to everyone – I am always thinking of storytelling, as an oral art, the repeating of a story or telling tales. Or, via e-books althought those are not necessarily accessibile. But if we do it right, good writing will spur good repeating of the story, thus it lives on. Yeah, I know; kinda idealistic.

    Yolanda – what I remember as my first encounter in Carolina was the “mash the button.” I was on an elevator and was given this instruction. I remember just looking at the person, like ‘what?’ They laughed and repeated the request. I love that – “mash the button” or “Mash the light.”

    Anno – really? Magazine? Hmmm…crazy times to try but yes, it’s on my mind. A lot.

  • Becca says:

    I like your number 4 – I like to think of myself as doing something “daring” when I write!

    This is a fabulous list 🙂

    Happy new year, and happy writing!!

  • shoreacres says:

    So, I’ve just discovered ePublishing and self-publishing aren’t the same thing, thanks to following Trevas’ link. Would you like to see the rock I live under? It’s quite nice….

    I was struck immediately by this in #3: “It is from writing that we learn what was, what is and possibly what will be.” I hear the echoes: “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.” It’s a primordial dynamic, flowing through the world, and writing does connect us to it.

    #8 left me giggling – writing is always (the task?) at hand! My first poem was called The Task at Hand. It gave me the name of my blog AND it was started on the back of a used piece of 80 grit sandpaper.

    Finally, that phrase: “It is time.” That sounds like marching orders – next step is to figure out which direction to head!

    Great post!

  • eBookGuru says:

    ” fun(agony) ”

    I love writing… although sometimes I would agree with agony. If not for those times though I’d never be able to appreciate the “fun” times.

    In Response to ShoresAcres

    “I’ve just discovered ePublishing and self-publishing aren’t the same thing, thanks to following Trevas’ link.”

    With the eBookguru site, I am beginning to develop a list of very good contacts within the e-Publishing industry. If you’re looking for an ePublisher I can recommend a few of the better ones..


  • oh says:

    Becca – thanks for the comments – and such adventurers we are, right? picking up the pen (so to speak) as often as possible in order to sally forth with stories, tech pursuits and inventions!!!!

    Linda – Writing on sandpaper? That’s a great little story right there! Glad you checked out ePublishing. I’m terribly curious myself. Just need a day of “marketing” in the writing world to see what’s what. And your mention of the “primordial dynamic” – awesome. Really.

    Trevas – thanks for following our writing talk. Doors are opening up.

  • qugrainne says:

    I liked # 7 – writing active, reading passive. The yin and the yang? I think many people would benefit from not only reading, but writing. It helps one to be a little more introspective – to step outside and then look back in, and see amazing things you did not realize….

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