Monday, November 07, 2011
Sometimes I'm sad because I don't know how to write very well. I just sort of put down what I think I want to say, but often it becomes very weird. I don't know what I'm saying and it's backwards mess. I'll have words in the wrong spot or I'll leave out silly little words. It's dumb because I have an obsession with correct grammar, punctuation and intonation. It's hard to have the correct intonation in writing, and it's hard to not have the intonation be complex.
What I mean is that it's often hard to convey irony or jokes without being excessive, and even then there are the few who it's lost on. I like subtlety. It's hard to pull off, but I do like the idea of planting tiny things throughout. I haven't gotten that down yet, but I'm trying and the more I write, the better I become.
A few journalists from Joystiq discussed their writing method in a now-dead podcast. Any journalist gets questions about how they write and in a niche setting like this, there is always a question of how to become a blogger who gets paid, so the topic is often discussed. Listening to their discussions was not always inspiring, but one thing Christopher Grant said has always stuck with me.
His strategy for writing a paper when he was in college was this: write and edit the paper, take the last paragraph and salvage is into the best conclusion you can, throw away the rest, use the conclusion as an introduction and start over. It is insane and everyone pointed that out immediately, but it's such a sound strategy for a good essay, that it feels worthwhile. Grant said he did this for every paper, some of which were many pages long (he was a EngLit/History major).
I have never taken Grant's advice, because I'm a horrible writer. Seriously.