What makes good, nay great writing?

(Possibly a lack of using the pretentious ‘nay’ unless you happen to be Shakespeare…) I began attending a writing course a few weeks ago, and it’s profoundly changing the way I think about words.

I’ve never been a writer, and I’m still not. I can cobble together a decent formal letter, and slap an essay up with relative ease, but they’re both structured presentations and explanations of research, not really writing.

 A rose by any other name…

Our teacher says quite simply, but rather powerfully, “you need to tell a story”. Pretty obvious, but rather tough in practise at times (especially when you’re rolling out posts 6 days a week and working full time). But, lame excuses aside, every word has a cosy sentence niche for a reason. Why pick ‘splodge’ over ‘droplet’, ‘azure’ over ‘blue’ or use a sprinkle of the occasional raison d’être? (Carefully spell checked. Most of the time). There is a rhythm to thoughtful writing, a natural flow of phrasing that doesn’t overwhelm the subject, but supports the idea and punctuates the ethos of a sentence.

 Feel the rhythym, feel the rhyme!

It’s also a challenge trying to find that delicate balance between telling your personal story, and allowing it to overwhelm the tapestry of your subject. Also, the danger of being sterile – quite simply why would anybody bother reading something ‘magnolia’ in composition?

 All in all you’re just another snail on the wall…

This isn’t a cry for attention, a backwards request for a slap on the back, but simply train of musings that cried for tapping out. I’ve published 589 post on this here corner of t’internet but, hand on heart, I can say that I’ve sent around dozen posts into the ether that I would share as examples of decently expressed thought.

That said, in many ways I’m rather stoked with every post I hit that publish button on – they are a part of me, an expression for some kind of hidden emotion. Sometimes it’s simply an unfulfilled craving for an eggs benedict hit, sometimes a desperation to share an unusual corner we’re discovered. The nice thing (sorry, terrible phrase) joy of blogging is the flexibility of pretty well whatever you like. If I want to thread singing a song through a restaurant review, I can. If I want to add a post where I say nothing at all, I can. All I know is that it doesn’t seem to scare you lot off…

What is the blog post or piece of writing you’re proudest of?

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