>Thoughts on Writing

>I have come to the conclusion that I really do enjoy writing. And I enjoy reading good writing –not my own, so much as others’. I knew that already. Heck, I’ve been reading voraciously since kindergarten.

The writing thing is a little different, though. I’ve had to write a fair amount in every job I’ve ever had. As an English teacher, I even taught writing. Well, as much as one can teach writing to sophomores in high school, given their intense lack of interest in anything required. After teaching, I worked a series of jobs that started out administrative, but morphed into higher responsibility, communications-oriented roles.

Funny how that happens (at least in a good workplace) people see your gifts and note where they can fill gaps or needs. Good leaders are always on the lookout for those people around them who can serve joyfully from their strengths to support them in their weaknesses. I expect that would preach one day.

Anyway, I’ve always loved words- the way they relate to one another, build on one another, and create rhythms that transport you. I love the way that changing a couple of words can bring a whole new layer of meaning to a statement. And I truly enjoy the challenge of taking a full page and condensing it to 100-150 words- like a haiku on steroids. An economy of space and words forces you to choose carefully and creatively, rather than succumb to logorrhea.

So how did I just come to this conclusion? It’s certainly not an epiphany or a Eureka! moment. After spending a day holed up in a library (mmmm… the smell of books) so that I could crank out a paper 5 hours later, the best part of my feedback was not that I earned a solid A. It was this comment:

“What excellent and extensive research you have done, and your analysis is all the more complex because of it. Your writing is clear and easy to follow, but not simplistic. Thank you for letting me in on what you have learned. I understand this passage in a new light now!”

This is where my gifts for teaching and love of words cross paths. That combination allows me to synthesize the cool stuff I’ve learned into a package which helps and challenges my reader to learn it, too. Thing is, I actually enjoy that whole process- the gathering and percolating. The brain dump, followed by cut and paste and rearrange. The walking away and taking a fresh look. Of course, extemporaneous writing is a whole ‘nother kind of joy. But that will have to be another post for another day.


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