by cheri block
Writing is a disciplined extension of random brain activity, put to paper or computer screen so that others might know our thoughts in a clear and understandable way.
Writing is one of the most difficult of activities that we humans have in our communication toolbox.
While writing can be taught to all students, great writers are born, seeing the world and its events in a Technicolor beyond the rules of the rainbow. Such writers often walk outside the lines, cheat in hopscotch, and resent the rules of punctuation. Funny, though. If asked, they know each and every rule.
Most great writers have odd senses of humor, sometimes taking themselves so seriously that they miss the joke. They can be sarcastic and, at times, bitter. That bitterness is sweetened by a compliment. In fact, a good compliment changes everything for a great writer.
In other words, great writers are sensitive to criticism, but they mask this sensitivity with wit. Great writers are witty and appreciate wit in others’ speech or writing. Wit is a coveted communication skill, often bestowed upon those who might be teased by oversized mesomorphs.
Great writers are not the same as great poets. Great poets get to be obscure (if they choose).
Great writers cannot get off so easily. Clarity is of utmost importance. Panache helps. Great writers know that using three prepositional phrases in a row is a no-no. Such expression is reserved for lyricists.
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, we go.
Great writers are often either terribly insecure or terribly secure. Rarely is a great writer a normal person. Whatever normal means.
One of the nicest times of the day for a writer occurs late at night or early in the morning when activity is reserved for barn owl and skunk-types. Rooting around in the soft dark dirt, exploring tunnels and warrens where shallow and deep thoughts lie, typing and retyping until the brain activity disciplines itself into directed clarity–these daily doings are the stuff of great writers.