Why do we write and what does it mean to do it well? Ben Myers’ thirteen theses on writing offers some thoughts toward answering questions like these. He certainly does not attempt a comprehensive answer (does such an answer exist?). But, he does offer some provocative thoughts in that direction.
You’ll want to read the whole post yourself, but here are some of my favorite pieces:
- On Writing and the Fall: “Writing is for the fallen, for the soul cast out of paradise and lonely to return.”
- On Kinds of Writing: “The difference between bad writing and mediocre writing is discipline. The difference between mediocre writing and good writing is editing. The difference between good writing and great writing is miracle.”
- On Editing: “Good writers cull the overpopulated paragraphs of their work. Like a farmer protecting the livestock, the writer lovingly separates whatever is sickly and infirm – and then loads the gun.”
- On Writing and Living: “To distinguish between writing and living betrays a deep misunderstanding not only of what it means to write but also of what it means to live.”
- On Writing and Thinking: “Among scholars today, there is no error more pervasive than writerly Docetism….the belief that one can have clear thoughts regardless of the clarity of their expression, or that one first has an idea which is subsequently communicated through the neutral medium of prose. But between idea and form there is a mystical union of natures; to write well is to think well.”