Monday, September 7, 2009

Guest Post by Adrienne Carlson

My Secrets to Good Writing

Some of us are born rich; some strive hard to achieve affluence; others stumble on wealth through sheer luck; and yet others struggle all their lives looking for prosperity and financial comfort without really being able to go past the boundaries of this elite status. The art of writing is similar – you are either born with the ability to weave magic with words or you aspire to learn the craft. The latter is not as easy as it sounds.

Just so I’m not mistaken, I’m not talking about writing in good English using perfect grammar and punctuation – anyone with determination and dedication can learn how to do that. What I’m referring to is the art of telling a story, one that has a compulsive beginning, a solid middle and a comprehensive ending, using words with a mastery that has to flow in one sweep from your mind to your fingers to your screen.
Some people choose writing as a way to earn a living, but in my experience, it’s those who stumble on it by chance who actually taste great success at this career. The dormant bug stays inside them, and when necessity or boredom forces it to make a reluctant or reticent appearance, the applause is tumultuous because the butterfly from the chrysalis is beautiful beyond words.

So how do you know if this talent is hidden within you? Only by trying! Choose a topic and give your mind free rein, or better still, the topic comes unbidden to your mind and begs to be explained further in the form of words. If thoughts tumble into your mind with a speed that makes them all tangled up, if your fingers itch to give concrete form to these ideas using words, and if you can heave a satisfied sigh of relief on reading the finished product, you know you have it in you to be a good writer.

Of course, you may have to hone your skills by reading more, analyzing your own work, comparing it with that of others, and keeping your ideas fresh and new. You may also suffer from the occasional writer’s block, but that is no cause for concern, because writer’s block is not that you cannot write at all; it only means that you know your creativity is being stifled by extraneous factors and circumstances. It may also happen when you know in your heart that your writing is not up to par and that you need to continue revising.

Writing is an art that must be viewed in depth in order to appreciate it – just a cursory glance or two is not enough. It also takes a person with a flair for the written word to appreciate you, and one man’s meat is always another’s poison. So don’t be disheartened if you receive more brickbats than bouquets – write for yourself, because you want to do so and not because others demand it; only then is the art of writing truly sustained.

By-line: This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of christian colleges online: Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: