I'm trying to understand how to write.

Published on Jul 28, 2019


A voice has attributes that help people identify it. Your voice as a writer is your expression of yourself on the page.


Which words are at your command? How do you dispatch them? They are employees in your company. How do you employ them?


"First we make our habits, then they make us." Find some nails you can hang your activities on.


Not the one your parents warn you about when blasting your Beats by Dre. Rather, the amount and quantity of your writing. The more you write, the more you practice. You'll mature from small puzzles to larger, more complex puzzles, but the principles will be the same. Find the right piece, put it in the right place.


Humans love narrative. Am I too lazy to believe this? Do I just want to keep expressing my own thoughts so I can get credit for them so people will like me? Yes. But a story can be more powerful; more engaging; More enjoyable to spend time with. The Hero's Journey is the most famous storyline used. Understand it. Use it.


The syllables in words take up beats. How you piece them together can determine how they are read. Shorter words are easier to get through. Longer, flowery phrases can have the effect of lulling the reader to a relaxed state of attention. Take it too far and that relaxation may become disinterest or doziness. Write too abruptly and your writer's voice may sound punchy.

Play with the sounds and pace.


Repetition is a tool. It creates patterns. Patterns the reader can identify become familiar. On familiar roads, we proceed with confidence. Repetition is a tool.


When I think of a tool, a hammer or screwdriver are the first shapes that come to mind. The beginners tools. The first I played with - even when plastic rather than metal. But all craftspeople employ tools. Tools are shaped to help us extend our natural abilities. A woodworker will make a jig to rapidly produce the same cuts. A magician has a bag of tricks. A politican wields the empty promise. What tools might you employ on a regular basis to get your job done?


A good crime story shows the detective doing research above and beyond the call of duty. Character defining traits include extreme attention to detail, obsessive prioritization of the work, and an inexorable plodding toward a new understanding that solves the mystery and resolves the tension created by all the unknowns. If a mystery is dark and clouded, the solution is organized and common-sensical. The light reveals the underlying facts and mysterious questions disappear with a satisfactory answer.

This piece is an example of how to understand your craft. Pick some definitions of your own and find a way to define them. Richard Feynman, a famous physicist, said that writing out what you understand is the best way to learn. It helps you identify what you know and where opportunities for deeper understanding exist.

Might you reply with your own?