Yesterday I spent some time thinking about the quality of my writing day after day. A very long time ago I sat in a room with somebody who tore down everything about my writing. It was a vicious attack on my grammar and my skill at compositing the written word. Still to this day I’m not very happy the individual took the time to do it. A better method would have been to talk about how to use better storytelling to convey my ideas in written form. Focusing on the outcome of engaging in better communication instead of the esoteric foundations of grammar would have probably resonated with me on a deeper level. Instead it was a very strange conversation. Over the years I have graded a lot of papers and provided advice to others. Ultimately, I would still hire an editor or work with a peer to dig into something I wanted to submit for publication in a prestigious academic journal or publish as a stand alone manuscript. Honestly, I think most people do have their work reviewed before final publication. Even my best efforts at editing which I’m really starting to dig into putting more effort into every day are not a replacement for a thoughtful review by somebody else for grammar and clarity of argument.
Beyond those very deep and philosophical questions I had last night on the nature of writing high quality prose, I had a few ideas about my focus on completing that writing. Together those two lines of inquiry developed a layered attack on both the quality and quantity of writing output I produce on a daily basis. Yesterday when the weblog publish button was clicked yesterday that submission marked 50 days in a row of writing and sharing weblog posts. That is a good step in the right direction of sustaining a daily writing habit. Part of that writing is getting back into the habit of critical observation of the world. A lot of my previous writing has been about the normative nature of things and how civil society functions. Those are key questions right now and using logic and critical thinking are as import as they ever were. Matched with a renewed focus on generating high quality output aimed at better communication, my daily renewed focus on devoting time to the written word is working well in tandem with an emphasis on quality. Obvious and logical after reading it that combination of things still remains true. Part of getting into the habit of writing is for better or worse the process of writing. Layered deep presentation of arguments is something that has to be developed.
Being really pithy and producing a single sentence with a deeply nuanced delivery of meaning might be one way to go about it. Being able to engage in effective storytelling so the argument is conveyed in a way that is both understandable and repeatable could have a more lasting effect on the reader. Even if true understanding of something delivers the ability to prove brevity is the heart of wit sometimes you need to spend the time to write out the full argument. My biggest failure as a writer is not grammar or procrastination based. It is entirely a failure related to expecting the reader to fill in the logic of how it got to an argument instead of clearly telling a story that step by step walks the reader to the conclusion. Sometimes I wholesale pin my hopes on the conclusion instead of the entire process of argument. Making the assumption that the conclusion can stand on its own is inherently a logical fallacy that should be avoided.