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              A Philosophy of  Writing  


bullet1. Writing is learned primarily by means of writing. Talking about writing is useful, and reading about writing can be helpful.  But, the real work of writing is accomplished only by actually doing the writing itself.


bullet2.. Writing is essentially revising. Revision is not a punishment for doing something wrong.  It is a way to do something right.  It is a necessary part of writing.  Revision is inevitable, inescapable, ineluctable.  And this is true for all writers--Tolstoy and T.S. Eliot, Virgil and Virginia Woolf, Dickens, Dickinson, and Didion, you, me, friends, and foes.


bullet3. Revising is not editing, not a mere correcting of spelling, mechanics, or punctuation.  Revising, instead is rethinking, re-envisioning, reimagining, reorganizing, reshaping--that is, truly renovating the original writing, bringing it to a renewed life in a reformed and reformulated saying.


bullet4. Writing grows out of reading and is intimately, inextricably entwined with it.  Reading and writing are allies, helpmates, synergistic, energizers of one another.  They belong together, married not divorced.


bullet5. Writing, in fact, is thinkingówith pen or pencil or keyboard. And further, writing produces thinking, prompts, encourages, stimulates, and supports it.  If you want to think--write.


bullet6. Reading, writing, and thinking are habits of mind, not mere mechanical skills.  You can diagram their interrelationship as a circle moving continuously from one to another to the other.  You can also diagram their interconnectedness as a triangle with arrows linking each aspect of mind to the others.  Or You can visualize their relationships in still other ways.


bullet7. Writing (and reading and thinking) involves more than the logical, the rational, the intellectual.  Writing (and reading and thinking) also involves feeling, emotion.  In fact, some would argue (Wordsworth among them) that all our important thinking originates in feeling.  Others, Donne among them, would suggest that, like body and soul, mind and heart, thought and feeling are completing aspects of one another.


bullet8. Good writing depends on the reciprocity between image and idea, abstract and concrete, general and specific, point and support, idea and evidence.  Good writing is informed by experience and authority as well as by reading and thinking.  It also requires disciplined work and imaginative play, and results sometimes in agony, sometimes in ecstasy.