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Writing Right: The Blog

DO SKILLS AND CREATIVITY MAKE WRITING EASY?

I answered this question on an Internet forum the other day, as did some other writers. Some of their responses were pretty silly. Let's see if I can make mine fit right in.

 

If someone has the skills and creativity to be a writer, he also has the intellect to know that easy writing is vile hard reading. Period. If writing ever seems easy to a writer, he knows he's doing it wrong.

 

That's not to say that writing doesn't get easier with age, assuming the writer is open to self-critique, learning, self-editing, and growing his craft. I find writing easier today than I did when I got started more than half a century ago. I never suffer from a loss for words (sometimes known as the dreaded writer's block affliction). I always know the rules of proper grammar and syntax. I know how to edit both other people's works and my own. I can sense in an instant when a character is interesting (make that magnetic) and when he's a crashing bore. And I live to create lively, moving dialogue.

 

Now, none of that means I find writing today easy. If that day ever comes, I'll hang up my typewriter ribbon for good because it will mean I finally failed. And I'll have to admit it.

 

But easier is a comfortably descriptive word. It sure beats the hell out of harder.

 

Clear?

 

Okay, now for a bonus Q&A: Why is good writing never easy, even for professional writers? The answer is because good writers are always learning, experimenting, learning some more, deviating from the norm, learning some more, pushing the envelope of effective literature, learning still more, and growing in the development of their craft.

 

When a writer starts out, he often flounders despite the fact (or because of it) that he has learned precious few rules of writing to which he needs to adhere. He feels his dialogue is consistently strained and unrealistic. He has more questions about reality, or at least believability, than he has answers. He doesn't know what to include and what to leave out of his story. Hell, he doesn't even know if he has a story! In short, he's flying by the seat of his pants. And he always will be, even if he's fortunate enough to sell a bunch of books to some conventional publishers who demand little of their authors in the way of literary talent, as is the case too often these days.

 

As writers age, they learn. At least they do if they ever hope to become good writers. As they learn, they practice. They stuff into the pockets of their brains more rules of good writing, which means they have more rules than ever to recall, to follow, and sometimes even to break. Remembering the faces of three people in a room is a lot easier than remembering those of three dozen. See what I mean?

 

Yeah, yeah, I know nobody asked for that question and answer. So what? I told you it was a bonus, remember?

 

D. J. Herda is author of the new eBook series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere.

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