Good writing is the product of superior thinking. The result of a mind operating at a level above the herd. My ‘writing’ fails that test. What I type is not the product of refined thought. Just a fumbling act of survival. This post is a prime example.
GOOD Writing is a chariot. It takes the reader to greater understanding/awareness (let’s avoid the word ‘enlightenment’). The vehicle of GOOD writing is built on a chassis of strong intellectual foundations. Supporting a precise construct of reason, emotion, fact, and logic. A robust core idea gives it life. Powering a rhetorical engine purring you along with clear, precise sentences. They hold you by the heart and mind. When you get off you treasure the experience, not just where you ended up.
My ‘writing’ is none of that. I use ‘writing’ as a ‘thinking tool’. It is not a conscious intellectual process. Only a way of shepherding the babbling voices in my head so they don’t drive me mad. The result is the excrement of neural processing. Similar to the digestive system outputting the processed bits of lunch.
Sounds harsh. Makes me an insecure self pitying whiner seeking a pat of reassurance. That’s not the case. It’s a liberating admission of how I experience ‘writing’. An acknowledgement that after a decade of blogging and 797 blog posts, I am nowhere near the starting point of what I consider GOOD writing. That realisation is strengthened every time I ‘write’.
Or rather fumble for words to string together something that maps out the babble in the room inside my head. Then stir the worm pile of sentences until it gels into something I can understand. Or becomes an incomprehensible mess. Which I am forced to stir again at gun point. This experience of the ‘writing’ process hasn’t changed.
It starts with a sentence. Often a stupid one. Or a pathetic attempt at sounding witty. Then the path meanders with annoying ferocity. Refusing to reveal a big picture. Often it leads to nothing. A few times it is the start of another trail. On rare occasions I find a candle of realisation. Flickering on an upturned Milo tin. Always eons from the starting thought.
Making sense of it means going back over the word trail. Assembling the jigsaw of ideas. That’s the part of my life called blogging. IF a bigger picture emerges, it happens centuries after I’ve flushed the thing into the blogosphere. Re-reading an old blog post, I find myself nodding in a personal moment of understanding. The cause is a mix of what is written and the accumulated memory of the mental digestive process the post went through.
That is how far I am from GOOD writing. Perhaps by dedicating lots of time I don’t have, I can transform such realisations into GOOD writing. Where what I realise from my ramblings are converted to core ideas. Which are mounted on a chassis of strong intellectual foundations. Then converted with engaging sentences and structured into vehicles of thought. Propelling people to understandings worthy of their time. A nice delusion.
Life’s priorities don’t allow me large regular blocks of time needed to attain such mastery. All my ‘writing’ happens in the gaps between moments. It’s processes are built around milking the stray minutes in queues and latrines (where most of this post – like the others – is written). Even if I had four hours a day to write, I will fail. Realisations I get from my blogging cannot convert to GOOD writing. No different from trying to produce high quality food by eating excrement. That’s not an excuse – just a fact.
So there you have it. My experience of ‘writing’ is an internal thinking process. Not as a way of sharing refined thoughts. Perhaps it is training for a future too remote to think about right now.