A few people have asked me why I write and how I do it. I tell them I enjoy writing and that I share what is on my mind. I was thinking about this the other day and I suspect the answer is longer than the brief response I give. So I decided to explore why I do what I do a bit more in depth. I’ve been writing opinions for newspapers for under a year now and I find the process quite interesting.
First off, let me say that I absolutely hated writing in high school. I would frequently write my compositions, essays and book reports on the bus, while I was on my way to school.
I only recently got bitten by the writing bug, and have since penned 57 opinions. I have a lot of work “in the can,” as they say in the movie business. I have been published in one online newspaper and three print newspapers since the end of January. As of this writing, I have been published in papers 33 times.
I write not only to express myself but to encourage conversation, spark controversy, keep my mind sharp, call out the inept and give props to those who deserve it. I love when someone comes up to me and says, “I read your article the other day and I loved it. Don’t stop writing.”
Like I said, I find the writing process very interesting. I take my prompts from current events, something I have seen or experienced or something that I heard in a conversation. Sometimes an idea just pops into my head.
I really should put a pen and paper next to my bed because I sometimes work in my sleep. I have heard that some writers write about their dreams when they first wake up.
I often work on multiple pieces at one time, depending how the spirit moves me. I occasionally start writing about one thing and, in the middle, take a left turn and end up writing about something entirely different.
Sometimes I can’t stop writing and other times I hit a brick wall and have to go do something else. Sometimes it is working on a different piece; other times it is watching a movie.
More often than not, the middle part of a piece is the first part that gets written. Then I have to flesh it out by doing research and adding personal experiences.
While writing, I find I am opening long-closed “file drawers” of memories that relate to what I am writing. It is fun to go down memory lane in my head.
The next step is the rewrite. I read my work out loud to see if the words and phrases flow freely. It is here where I commonly spend most of my time, changing things around, correcting spelling, expanding or shrinking ideas.
Then I have to figure out a good “tag line” – one that will grab your interest and make you want to read what I have written. Grabbing your interest in a few words is probably the hardest part of writing. I often find that a song or lyric will pop into my head at this point to help with this.
The last step is the signature line, where I usually try to be a little satirical or funny. “Leave them laughing,” as they say. I close with something like, “I’m not a good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.” (James A. Michener)
I welcome comments and ideas for articles at firstname.lastname@example.org.