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Writing is Communication

June 13, 2011

I suppose now that babbling about how to properly write dialogue was a weird way to start the blog off. I could go back and edit it but I may as well leave it up. It’s a topic I’ve been discussing a lot lately with a few writer friends and I personally think that some aspiring writers don’t think enough about it. So hopefully I’ve said something useful or at least somewhat interesting, but if not, well, there it is.

The truth is I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few years talking about writing. Workshops, giving and receiving critiques, brainstorming, posting on forums… For me, writing is most fun when it’s a collaborative process. And I don’t mean that you get together with someone and write a story together. No, you can work on your own, individual projects, but it’s great to have the support of other writers and friends.

There’s something to be said for outside encouragement. Sometimes that’s what keeps me going. And when I’m stuck behind that so called “writer’s block,” talking about writing is what inspires and motivates me again.

And I can always use feedback. Anyone can always use feedback, in my opinion.

Some writers are the type to lock themselves up in their rooms, scribbling away in seclusion and refusing to show anyone what they’ve done until it’s Finished with a capital “F.” For me, it’s not finished (or Finished) until it’s been ripped to shreds by a beta reader or five.

The way I see it, writing is about communication. The author is only part of it – the reader is just as important. When you write, you are speaking to someone, whether you write poetry or biographies or fantasy or raunchy romances. You have a story to tell, but there’s not much point unless there’s someone there to listen. If a tree falls in a forest, etc., etc. So when I write something, I want to know what people think.

I do know a number of people who declare that they write “for themselves,” and to that I say, “Fine, whatever.” I guess I can understand that. Actually I think I’ve had a project or two that I really only wrote for my own amusement. So to those people, carry on and best wishes. I think you’re missing part of the point but that’s up to you.

So that’s really what the whole point of this blog is, I think. Sometimes it’s going to sound like my personal soapbox where I rant about this, that or the other thing (I have certain pet peeves when it comes to writing and writers that I could just go on and on about, and if you follow this blog, you’ll just have to put up with it). Sometimes it’s going to sound like an English class where you think, “What right does this person who gave up on an English degree and is only ‘kind of’ published have to lecture me on ‘proper’ writing practices?” to which I reply, “Shut up, this is my blog.” But really, it’s about communication. I love talking about writing and I want more people to talk about it with.

EDIT: I suppose I should include some sort of note mentioning that when I use the phrase “writer,” I’m usually referring to amateur/aspiring writers, specifically. I’m sure some of what I’m talking about could apply to professional writers, but in posts like this, where I say that “writing is a collaborative process,” I suspect that is less often the case for published authors. My experience is as an aspiring writer so I can’t really speak for professional ones.


From → General Advice

  1. I’m not by any means a professional writer, though I hope I can change that soon. But I think that professional writing is also a collaboration to an extent. We think of writing as something solitary, but it’s really not. First of all, no writer draws all inspiration from one person: himself. But I’ve found that I get the best stories from friends or random drunk people who soon join the former category. And once a writer has been published and become “an author,” the writer works with the agent. Then, he works with an editor and a publication board. Everyone from the intern copy-editors (they do a huge job) to the publishing house founders have a hand in what goes into the final product.
    But yeah, if there’s no one there to read your work and appraise it, writing gets to be dismal. It feels like all the work you’re exerting is for nothing. You lose that appreciation that others have for your work. I know what you mean there. But I just wanted to point out that professional writers too, write with the feedback of others. Many published authors are in writing groups together or with amateurs. They don’t sail into literary waters alone, ignoring the feedback of others.
    I think also that, in a way, all writers are writers. Whether we’ve published no books or 20, we all struggle with the same sorts of things.

    • Oh, yeah, I understand. And I have been in writing groups with published authors before. I simply want to clarify that I can’t speak for published authors as I don’t have the personal experience to back up what I’m saying. My experience is as an amateur writer, so while I’m sure that what I have to say does have some relevance for published authors I don’t want to make any assumptions. Your points are certainly valid, interesting and well put.

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