‘Read, observe, listen intensely! — as if your life depended upon it… Write your heart out’. – Joyce Carol Oates
When I first, tentatively, started blogging, unsure of an appropriate voice, I read some valuable advice, paraphrased here:
all words that just don’t add anything. This was the very best piece of advice I read when I first started blogging. Carefully re-read posts that you have written and try to remove all the extraneous words that add little or nothing.
With this in mind, I wrote prolifically, in my own voice, developing a minimalistic style which helped me distil the essence of my learning experiences into (I hope) clear, concise posts, clarifying my own thinking in the process.
I find myself impatient with the sort of pretentious writing described in this article by June Casagrande. The kind of writing that’s filled with extraneous words and repetitive phrases which you need to read and reread to discern meaning… Or simply let your eyes skim over (or off) and move on to something else.
‘Try to leave out the part that readers will skip’. – Elmore Leonard
Casagrande’s article led me to this one by Steven Pinker and onwards to his newest book The Sense of Style, which was what inspired me, for the first time in years, to think about a different way of writing and to play with the piece in my previous post.
‘I don’t give a shit what’s in your head. By which I mean if it isn’t on the page it doesn’t exist. The connection between your mind and the reader’s mind is language. Reading is not telepathy.’ -Jeanette Winterson
As the quotes indicate, I’ve been exploring what famous writers say about the writing process, largely uncovered via Brainpickings excellent curation.
As in the case of all worthwhile inquiry, this led me to further wonderings…
– As an educator, how do you inspire your young writers?
– Do you write?
– Can you teach writing if you don’t write yourself?
‘Pay no attention to the criticism of men who have never themselves written a notable work’. – Ezra Pound
… or written anything at all?
‘To get started, write one true sentence’. – Ernest Hemingway