Reflections on the Writing Process: Part 1

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Ohhh…the challenges of writing.  Most people dread it. Many of us had poor grade school experiences of English teachers demolishing our work with countless red ink error corrections and question marks all over the papers we stayed up late writing the night before. We dreaded subjects we had to write about and the revisions we had to make—the entire process was like cleaning a messy room. The pain and arduous process of good writing is what makes simple cell phone text messaging and 140-character Twitter posts so much easier.

So why is writing so hard? Well, partly because it’s not as natural as talking. The old adage that says, write like you talk is not quite valid. Good writing is not always like we talk. We don’t talk in complete sentences. We constantly correct ourselves. We utter our thoughts. And if just can’t articulate we what we’re thinking, we can always say, “You know.”

Why Good Writing Is Hard

Good, coherent writing  is not like talking. Writing is a process. It’s messy. It’s uncertain. It doesn’t add up like 2+2=4, even though there are grammar and spelling rules. Writing is somewhere between an art and a math equation, and that’s what makes it hard. There are rules that we can apply to make our writing good, but writing requires a sense of style and timing that makes writing interesting.

As a writer, my skills have grown over the years, simply because I write nearly everyday—not just for myself, but for readers. It’s one thing to keep a personal diary or blog in which you can choose not to focus on communicating your thoughts but to use writing to document your experiences and what’s on your mind. When you write for readers, it’s different challenge. You want your writing to be read. You’re trying to communicate information to others in way that makes that information easy to understand.

If you’re a fiction writer (which I‘m not), you’re trying to both entertain your readers and draw them into your fictionalized world. If you’re a serious fiction writer, you know your readers won’t waist their time with a poorly written story.

When a reader reads a book or even an article, he or she is entering into a contract with the writer. The reader is agreeing to give over his/her time to read what the author has to say. The reader expects the author to make to make the time and experience of reading worthwhile. By the same token, the author wants the full attention of the reader.

That’s the challenge of writing is to make topics interesting, comprehensive, accessible, and rewarding for readers.

The process of producing good writing is what I will cover in part 2 of this topic.

(Photo acknowledgement: Dave )

4 thoughts on “Reflections on the Writing Process: Part 1

  1. Fleire Castro says:

    That is what I aim too. But only if I have time though. Been pretty swamped these days. Writing a lot is like sharpening a knife, you need to do it often to improve. What would be the process then so I can write better articles? I guess will look forward to your next post!

  2. Stef Gonzaga says:

    Interesting points you have here about writing Bakari. This is why I scowl at people who think that writing is just something they can do easily. They don’t have a clue as to how difficult writing great content really is!

    And I agree that one of the best ways to become a better writer is to write everyday, whether in a blog or even on a table napkin. I also suggest reading books, checking out meanings of words through dictionaries, finding possible synonyms and antonyms for words through thesauruses, and of course exposing yourself to various English media.

  3. Bakari says:

    Thanks Stef. I need to write part 2 of this piece, mainly because it helps me the think more keenly about my writing process—where it succeeds and where it falls short. And I totally agree with you about reading. I do it all the time as well. Sometimes though I get jealous of some writers because I haven’t produced as much as they have.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

  4. Dr, Lewis says:

    Bakari, I’ve been enjoying your blogs and then they … just stopped. Man! You got me all addicted to your pearls of wisdom and then you left us hanging. remember only one out of each 300-700 readers leaves a comment! 🙂 This is Rory Lewis here.

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