Friday, June 08, 2012

Writing is Not a Science

I often say that you will not become a good writer by believing what I say. You will become a good writer by doing what I say. It is a mistake to think that there is some important body of "knowledge" about writing that we must acquire. The truths that are known about writing are platitudes and learning them does not make you a good writer. "Write every day." "Think about your reader." "Omit needless words." Strictly speaking, these truisms are not even true, since you will have to break every "rule" of writing at some point in order to write well, which is to say, to put words together in meaningful ways on a page. The text you are writing is not merely the "object" of a "theory". It is a comportment, a manifestation of your style. A text can be read and read again, it can be read slowly or quickly, and it must be written in a way that sometimes makes it open to these acts of reading, and sometimes resists them. Writing is not something we know how to do, it is something we master. It is an art, not a science.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

Works, not faith.