Many among us have fantasized about being a writer. Writing works of fiction or fact, essays, poetry, novels, journals, diaries, letters, captions or lyrics. In a way we are all writers, writing for our blogs, writing in our minds.
Some dream of being published, but for most of us, it is more about developing thoughts and ideas, into words that flow, that make sense, that communicate in a way that help others feel what we are feeling. Writing is an expression of who we are, or who we wish to be.
We had dinner with a young friend living in New York. A talented musician and writer, making his way in the entertainment world. He and a friend who is also a writer, get up each morning, log into a Zoom meeting, say good morning, and then write for 90 minutes, checking in to assure that both are there, bouncing ideas off of one another, reading a turn of phrase - helping one another search for the perfect words to communicate a concept, or enlighten the mind of the reader, or listener.
Tip number one for being a writer, is write. Set aside time that is dedicated to writing. And write. Good or bad, put words on the screen or on paper. For me this is a couple of hours every Saturday, and an hour every Sunday for my personal writing. An hour or so, usually later afternoon most days for my professional writing. Many carry notebooks and write whenever and wherever they can. Take the time, make the time, turn off the distractions and put words on paper.
Tip number two is read, read a lot, read things you enjoy, read things you struggle to understand, read things you hate - those teach us what not to write, or the necessity of expressing the nasty- the ugly - the unpleasant - at the right time and place. My reading list is eclectic, maybe even eccentric. I will continue to post it late each year.
Tip number three, is write in a lot of forms. Many of us need to recognize that our writing takes many forms. Write for your blog, write essays, reports, book chapters (I just finished editing one,) write postcards, write letters. The grand library above, part of J.P. Morgan's personal library, contained not just books, but manuscripts and letters.
Tip number 4, see the world widely. This starts with seeing your own backyard, the community around you. Who is there, who was there before you? How do they live, how do they interact, what impact do they have on the world? Travel, get out of your comfort zone, develop new comfort zones. The recent trip to New York, I developed a new comfort zone with the NYC subway system, feeling somewhat comfortable with a complicated system, that really isn't all that complicated once you understand it, it will take you close to where you want to be, pretty much anyplace in the city.
My continued commitment to a daily blog post, is in large part my commitment to myself, to improve my writing. Now reading this drivel you may think I have a long way to go, I agree, but I also know how far I have come. Didn't I read someplace that life is about the journey, not the destination?
I never know if a student intern can really write, until they do. I had a student intern for the spring semester. I was a little concerned, English is not his first language (more like 3rd or 4th.) He is not from this part of the globe. He recently sent me an article based on the research he has done this semester. He has a promising future, in multiple languages, he can construct a coherent paragraph, packed with facts that tell me he knows his stuff. From talking with him, I knew he was bright, this really shines through in his writing. Great work Daniel. We will get this published, I have connections.