All About Writing

Playing around on Twitter today, trying to avoid jumping into any of the political fray, I found a link to a site that offers help finding topics about which to blog. Since my brain has decided to take a hiatus the past week or so – pain does that – I’ve struggled to come up with blog ideas, so I decided to check out this site.

It’s called Answer the Public, and you can type in any word and get a list of hundreds of questions people have asked about that topic. Being a writer, I decided to type in “writing.”

Wow! There are almost two-hundred questions broken down into several categories; why, how, when, where, will, and can – as in, “Can writing a book make money?”

One of the answers to that question made me snort coffee through my nose.

You don’t have to be a professional writer… or have been previously published… or have any internet business experience at all to start with Amazon self-publishing. Anybody can use this platform to get their work out into the world and into the hands of waiting audiences. According to Author Earnings, there were 485,538,000 ebooks sold on Amazon by 20,000 unique publishers.

Pardon me all to hell and back, but one should be a professional writer to publish anywhere, whether it is Amazon or any of the other platforms that are available to indie authors. You should know how to craft a story, not just string words together. You should hire professional editors and graphic artists and people to properly format your book.

Another interesting question was, “When did writing first start?” 

The earliest writing systems evolved independently and at roughly the same time inEgypt and Mesopotamia, but current scholarship suggests that Mesopotamia’s writing appeared first. That writing system, invented by the Sumerians, emerged in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE.

Just a bit of trivia to have at hand the next time you’re asked about the origins of writing. 🙂

A question about what writing style is best brought a number of answers, and to me the most fascinating was an article by Erika Rasso,  Famous Authors and Their Writing Styles. 

The article showcased a number of famous authors, from Hemingway to Joyce, to Christie and more, analyzing their styles and how those styles developed based on the writer’s background and experience. Then Rasso included a short paragraph on how we could determine if we could, or would, want to write in a similar style.

My take-away from this article was the importance of developing our own style, based on our backgrounds and experiences. Don’t try to be a copycat.

Among the “why” questions was “Why is writing important?”

The importance of writing stems from the fact that writing is the primary basis upon which communication, history, record keeping, and art is begun. Writing is the frame work of our communication. We are encountered with writing every day of our lives. … Writing is extremely important in today’s society.

Also in the “why” column was this interesting question, “Is writing better than typing?”

One answer by Zoe Nixon at the Writing Cooperative Blog surprised me:

Writing by hand gives you a better understanding of what you are writing. It is according to a study carried out two American researchers, Daniel Oppenheimer and Paul Mueller. The study showed that students who take notes by writing them using pen and paper had a better understanding of the subject than those who type.

Students who are all into the electronic age might balk at the thought of not taking notes on their tablets or smart phones, but the evidence from that scientific study is compelling.

Personally, I could not wait to get past the days of pen and paper for writing my books and articles. When I used pen and paper, it was necessity, not choice, and I embraced my first computer with open arms. Since I’ve been writing directly into a computer since the late 70s when I got my first personal computer, an ancient Kaypro, I am comfortable creating while clicking away on the keyboard. I can glance out my office window while the thoughts ramble around my brain, then make it onto the page on the screen.

I do know that other authors prefer to write by hand and use the pages of a notebook to doodle when they are stuck or write a note in a margin, but I can do the same on a small notebook beside my computer when I am stuck.

That’s all for me folks. What would you like to ask Answer the Public?  You might get lost in a hour or so of surfing the net, but that might nNot a bad thing overall, as it is all a learning experience.

Writers, do you prefer writing by hand or creating directly on the computer? 

4 thoughts on “All About Writing”

  1. Everybody has an opinion. It’s a bit like the latest and greatest diet; if it’s new, it must be better.

    Writers are artists who paint with words. Would critics jump up and down, declaring that da Vinci’s technique is better than Michelangelo’s, who’s better than Whistler, who’s better than van Gogh, and the list could go on and on. They were all very talented, and they were all different. So why should word artists be limited to certain tools and specific techniques because somebody says so?

    We are all different, and we bring our own unique gifts to the writing table. Our voices belong to us alone, and our stories are an outgrowth of many elements, a number of them personal. Whether we type them on a Smith Corona, jot them on a legal-size tablet, or put them on our hard drive, our creative juices flow. The method we use is a choice based on personal circumstances——nothing more.

    Now about the earliest writing . . . do you suppose it might have been in the form of drawings on a cave wall? 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Linda. To be clear about what Erika said about styles, I probably should have included more of what she said about not trying to be a copycat. I found her article most interesting in the analysis of each of the well-known writer’s style and questions we could ask ourselves about whether we have the kind of background that would enable us to write like that author. I think she was saying the same thing you did, we are all different and bring our unique gifts to the writing table. She just used different wordage to put a similar message across. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Erika. Your article was most interesting, and I hope my readers will click over and read the whole thing.

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