Why writing is not writing

Image courtesy of typofi via stock.xchng.
Image courtesy of typofi via stock.xchng.

Writing is never just writing. And yet, that’s all it is.

Once, a few years back, I tweeted this:

“bare bones – writing is use of symbols to express thought.”

But even in that primitive description, other tasks are implied, such as:

  • Determine surface for inscription of expressed thought (cave wall, paper, furniture, sky, computer, refrigerator).
  • Acquire instruments for inscription (chisel, pen/ink, pencil, finger/dust, smoke, keyboard, magnets).
  • Think (produce thoughts to be expressed).
  • Learn enough about symbols (alphabet, vocabulary) and structure/coding of symbols (grammar, spelling, sentence structure) to produce comprehensible thought.

And assuming the intent is to express thought to someone other than self, or that you wish to reach an extended group of readers, there are further implied tasks that fall under the categories of research, review/editing/manuscript preparation, marketing/promotion, platform development, and networking.

As I develop a greater sense of myself as a “working writer” and do more of the work of writing that is both bare-bones and not-writing, I have gained a greater appreciation for these not-writing-things that make up a fruitful writing life. In other words, what I used to see as keeping me from the real work of writing, I accept more as part of that real work.

[This post appeared originally in its entirety at Hieropraxis.com. Read the rest here.]

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2 thoughts on “Why writing is not writing

  1. Bethany says:

    I appreciate your perspective there: ” I have gained a greater appreciation for these not-writing-things that make up a fruitful writing life. In other words, what I used to see as keeping me from the real work of writing, I accept more as part of that real work.”

    It’s all work. And that point is important because otherwise I think one could think, “I need to rush through this other stuff to get to my real job here.” But the preliminary research, identifying the audience accurately, etc. is all purposeful and important, isn’t it? Thanks again for the insight.

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