The other day, I was discussing different pieces that I have written with my manager. He asked me if some of the content I had written before (print articles for a bridal magazine) wasn’t more exciting than what I am writing now (law, real estate, business, finance, etc.). I had to think about it for a few moments.
Neither topic is really all that interesting to me, to be honest. I’ve never been much for flowers and dresses and so on, and my own wedding was quite a quiet affair. And law is more interesting to me in a way, but I am not writing about law for my own country. I generally write about US law. So, that doesn’t really teach me anything except that US law is terribly confusing.
While considering his question, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t the genre or topic that I enjoy when writing. It is the act of writing in and of itself. I don’t care as much for what the words are saying as how they are put together. I absolutely love reconstructing sentences and paragraphs to shape them into something that makes more sense or that flows more freely.
I suppose this is what happens when you take the skills of a writer and an editor and mash them together. For me, it doesn’t really matter what I am writing, or even if I am the one writing at all, I see shaping the piece as a challenge, as something that I can really delve into.
And oddly enough, it’s often small bits of copy that cause the most trouble. For example, even what will be used for a call-to-action on a business website, such as “Ready to start your free trial?”, or “Know anyone who could benefit from free _____ resources? Pass this along!” can take a lot of time and effort to get right.
It doesn’t matter to me if I am writing or editing fiction, non-fiction, for work, for pleasure; it’s all alike to me. Good writing is good writing in anything. It doesn’t differ between genres or topics. It is the same whether you are writing an informational article about how to purchase business assets or a flash fiction horror story.
Writing well is something that should be built into you as a writer, and it should be ingrained so deeply that even when you leave a note for your significant other, or you write out a grocery list, you should at least entertain the idea of doing it properly. And I don’t just mean the grammatical and spelling parts of writing. I mean knowing how to construct a beautiful sentence. How to arrange one word after the other, like a bouquet of flowers. And then, knowing how to piece many of them together to make a beautiful paragraph, a beautiful story.
This is what I love the most about writing. Not the ideas, not the thrill of someone liking your story, not a compliment or a review. I love building something great. It’s almost like working with something tangible, like puzzle pieces or building blocks that you fit together. The same satisfaction comes when you have produced quality work. You can look at it and know that it is well done. It is smoother than a polished stone. It is the best that it can be.
That feeling is the best part of writing. The act of doing it well is precisely what excites me and what drives me. It allows me to be a versatile and tactical writer, and it keeps me interested and engaged throughout any topic, no matter how boring.
Are you the same, or do you abhor the act of writing? If not the act, what part of writing makes you tick?
I’ll be on Facebook until next time.