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Writing – just do it.

August 1, 2011

Most of us agonise over the process of writing. Deadlines loom, ideas come and go. The opportunity passes. Yes, of course, we are shaping our ideas in our imaginations. But there it stays until we write it out.  This is as true of writing at work as it is of ‘creative’ writing.

Practising

The debate about not being obsessed with churning out words, often poor ones, misunderstands the importance of writing as a process.  Writing is about practising the craft – that is why professional writers insist that we write, methodically, regularly and without mercy. But what they should add is – write thoughtfully, critically. Or rather, just get it out through writing and then apply your intelligence and skills.

The craft at work

When we look at something we have written, and then improve it using our skills, we witness the craft at work. And without exercising and developing those craft skills we do not become better writers. It really is 99% perspiration – we only need a drop of ink in that large glass of clear water to turn the whole thing dark and mysterious. But first I have to fill the glass. Inspiration comes when you write. To not write is an option for the procrastinator, not the writer. So when the deadline approaches, just get something down on paper. It does not have to be perfect. It will not be perfect. But the very act of that articulation forces us to make clear what we want to say. From then on it is a matter of refinement.

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