On Writing Style

Writing is fundamentally an art. Even so, it possesses key principles that must be followed during the process. These key principles will differ depending on who you ask. Some will say clarity. Others, elaboration. Others still, brevity. The answers you’ll get back are as varied as the writers that exist.

Why is this?

You would think that a general consensus would have been achieved given how long writing has been around.

Although I’m nowhere near an authority on writing, I want to give my thoughts about it after writing on and off for a few years.

Writing is inherently formless. The process of writing is simple: you have a thought, intention, or emotion, and you write words in order to shape it in a form understandable to other people. The difference comes in the shaping step. The first step is the same for everyone. After all, it’s impossible to write without having anything to write about. The second step is what trips people up.

Writing is like breathing. It’s best left to its own devices since it can self-regulate. When you focus on it, you disrupt the natural rhythm and process. To be more specific, when you consciously think about breathing you obtain control over the process. However, in doing so you lose its natural rhythm and flow. The same comes through in writing.

When you are writing, it should be as simple as breathing. With a thought in mind, you simply write as if talking on the empty page. Your thoughts take form in the shape of sentences, and the sentences gradually string together in some order to structure your thoughts. If you don’t focus on the process, what is left on the page will be your natural rhythm, the flow of thoughts that naturally come to mind. It may not be structured well or even understandable, but it’s fine. Those words you’ve written will still be yours as well as a reflection of your thoughts.

If you read your writing and find it disorderly, there are two potential causes. One, your thoughts are muddled. By that, I mean that you simply don’t know what you’re thinking about, or you think about too many things. It reflects a sort of chaotic rhythm that might make sense to you, or might not. Two, your ‘translation skills’ are lacking and the clear thoughts in your mind become lost in the process of carving them out on the written page. To fix that is simple, but strenuous: copying structure.

Like how a doctor dissects a cadaver to understand anatomy, it’s important to dissect writing in order to understand form. The degree of dissection, or analysis if you want a better word, necessary to improve your understanding of the written form will vary from person to person. The method of analysis can differ as well.

Some will gain an understanding of form by simple reading. Others by copying verbatim, word for word. Others by looking at each line and seeing the meaning. Others still by looking at the paragraphing. There are as many forms in writing as there are that you can make out.

In the end, I guess I just want to point out that you shouldn’t think too hard about whether your writing is good or not in the moment. The quality of your writing comes from improving your understanding of writing forms and organization. Instead, just focus on getting your thoughts, emotion, and intents through onto the page. Everything can be fixed later on.

That’s all I’ve got to say for today.

Thanks for reading and I hope my thoughts help you in some way.

In any case, have a wonderful day and until the next.

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