Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Writing Process

From the Rottweiler comes a piece fisking the New York Times, and their attempts to restore themselves as a trustworthy newspaper in the American mind. This quote screams out for comment.

"The paper was largely silent during those attacks, and Mr. Keller asked the committee to consider whether it was "any longer possible to stand silent and stoic under fire."

I learned writing under the instruction of a wonderful short story writer, Kate Myers Hanson, who currently teaches at Northern Michigan Univ. I was a member of Katie's writing group for about eight years, and her lessons will stay with me always. There is a process to writing, and once you learn the process it becomes second nature. Editing is crucial to the process and cannot be overlooked.

Good writing takes time. The writer must take the time to examine the manuscript from a couple of different perspectives, one of which is to stand in front of a mirror and read the piece aloud. If anything sounds strange coming out of your mouth, it will sound strange entering the mind of the reader. The writer should read the piece aloud to another person and allow time for criticism. If you can't take criticism, you have no business writing.

While the piece is being critiqued, you cannot defend it. Take quiet notes and make corrections later. No one cares what you intended to say, or what you meant to show in the piece. The work must stand alone, and if you didn't show a certain thing, or convey a certain something, then you failed as a writer. Writers are not allowed to respond to criticism, except to rework the piece.

This writers group was set up for writers of short stories and other printed genre. At the time, no one had heard of blogs, although most of us had heard of newspapers. I am a student of Katie Hanson, so when someone critiques my work, I take notes. I will most likely not respond, except perhaps in an email.

Blogging is writing. It is a lot quicker and a lot dirtier than publishing short stories, but it is writing nonetheless. What I like about blogging is the timeliness of it, the quick criticism, and the ability to instantly update a piece when warranted. I don't pretend to be a journalist, but I am a writer.

1 comment:

oyster said...

You are a writer. A good one. And it shows.

Keep it up!