As I approach my birthday this week, I am taking stock. Looking at what I’d like to do more of, and what I’d like to do less of in my life. On the “want to do more of” list is spend time with my family, engage in play, and writing. I want to write more. Not because I necessarily feel like I have something so profoundly important to say, but because it’s a valuable tool, and mechanism for thought and expression. Over at Lists of Note, I read David Ogilvy’s “How to Write” memo, which contains 10 tips for writing well. Number 2 on the list sticks out to me:
Write the way you talk. Naturally.
That’s a lot harder than it initially seems. I have noticed that when reading emails or letters from a particular friend of mine, I can hear his voice in my head. The cadence of his writing is so in turn with the way that he speaks, his writing flows in his natural voice. I’ve always admired that in him and since I noticed it have attempted to eliminate extra words or fluff to make myself sound more interesting or intelligent. I think I probably have some more internal editing to do, but it’s in my mind and hopefully as I write more will translate to the written word as well.
A while back I pledged to myself that I would write every day for two weeks straight. It was a bit of an attempt to kickstart my creative juices. Of the 14 days, I didn’t end up writing on 3 of them (21.4%). Not the best showing. So, while I have this desire to write more, I also don’t want to be an idiot and fool myself into thinking that I can jump in and bust out 800 words a day, no problem. I don’t even know if that’s a goal, but I would like to write more. To allow myself space and time to organize my thoughts, explore new ideas, lament, rejoice, learn, grow. I know that all of those things will make me a more balanced, well-rounded human being.
Do you write? What role does writing play in your life?