Myths, Rituals, and Realities in Writing

Writing is often perceived as one of our life’s secret realms entered by only a privileged few. Frequently we discover worthy writers who protect their interests by giving the impression that to be a first-class writer, you must analyze the mechanics of English for a good many years and only after painstaking study will one be able to master the art. The question which I present to you is whether this premise is actually true or a myth?
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Writing is often perceived as one of our life’s secret realms entered by only a privileged few. Frequently we discover worthy writers who protect their interests by giving the impression that to be a first-class writer, you must analyze the mechanics of English for a good many years and only after painstaking study will one be able to master the art. The question which I present to you is whether this premise is actually true or a myth?

I personally was a mediocre student in school, however as adulthood approached, I came to appreciate rather quickly that writing represented one of the bare necessities of just about any occupation. Upon grasping this fact, I promptly honed up on the crucial tools necessary to keep my head above water. The more I made use of these writing skills the better I became equipped to deal with the various types of writing that I encountered. Starting my military career out in the electronic field, I found numerous examples of writing both from a technical view as well as upon a personal level. Naturally, practice will only serve to improve your writing.

Today, I practice writing for a living and enjoy every minute of it. No longer does the thought send endless chills down my spine or cause me to experience a panic attack, but rather it appears to me as a challenge well taken. One of the myths which I believe most people consider is that every sentence must be forcefully created in a mechanical manner. Not so! Although I believe that we cannot write continuously as we would speak much of our daily writing is actually accomplished in just such a manner.

Even writing for a living I still experience moments of anxiety as I prepare to write. Perhaps the feelings originate from my earlier years that festered with fear as a lack of the writing tools needed for effective communications. As humans, we are not robots where everything must be mechanically perfect, therefore we should not confuse our writing abilities as anything mechanical in nature.

Our mechanical structures of our language, such as punctuation and grammar are important, but there are other features that are just as valuable. We have word processors which assist us in these tasks and it never hurts to approach one’s significant other to obtain their opinions as well. Writers never lack readers who are willing to review your work and I might add they are quick to point out those little subtle mistakes that tend to creep into our work.

I will initially begin my writing process and merely type anything which comes to my mind on the topic at hand. To view one of my first drafts would cause you to literally roll on the floor laughing. You would find many words on my page spelled incorrectly, an abundant supply of grammatical mistakes and often times too much information. After completion of my first draft, I will check all my spelling with a spell checker and occasionally through the use of a physical dictionary. With the spelling complete, I next move on to arranging my ideas in a logical manner. I ask myself does this sentence fit here. Should this sentence go elsewhere? This is where I eliminate some of the garbage that I initially typed in. I finally read over my work and replace words that I feel do not portray my meaning properly. In my last reading, I will look for any errors or issues which I may have overlooked previously.

Am I done now? Heck no, now it’s time to set the work aside and allow it to cool down. I try to get it out of my mind so that when I come back to it, I am fresh and can readily notice some of the errors and mistakes that slipped by me the day or two before.

Don’t even think it finished yet! Next, I approach my wife, my adult children, and my friends to get them to review it for me. You would be surprised at the number of errors in spelling or meaning that materialize at this point. Ultimately, it is time to finalize and submit my work. As you can easily see time is certainly not at your disposal when writing properly. Is this a lot of work? Sure it is, however, the payoff comes back with interest. I have the proud feeling of accomplishing a quality writing job.

In conclusion, over the years I have found that writing is not only an asset in any occupation, but a means of relieving stress which at any time may strike. It doesn’t matter to me if I am writing about some Native American folktale or creating an article for a survival website, the calming effect is essentially the same. The next time you feel stressed out sit down at your keyboard and type out a few pages of anything. Tell about your life, your children and exceptionally valuable experience that you had or anything that comes to mind. This technique is similar to the “free writing” mentioned in many beginners’ textbooks. I am sure you will feel a bit better in no time at all.

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