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Experiencing the Possibilities of Writing

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“Writing is an instrument that was invented for recording, storing, and communicating. Using the relatively small number of symbols on the keyboard, you can record, store, and communicate a virtually infinite range of information, and encode meanings with virtually any degree of complexity.” (New Yorker, June 2004)

This statement from Menand’s “Bad Coma,” encompasses exactly what it is that writers are able to do. When it comes to words there are no limits as to what you can convey and that’s where the magic of writing comes into play. A writer is just as likely to make their readers mourn over the loss of a character that they couldn’t help but fall in love with as they are to persuade their audiences to take a stand for a particular cause.

An important element that needs to be noted with this however, is that while words hold infinite possibilities not every writer does. In fact, it is a very small percentage of writers who are talented enough to jump from genre to genre while maintaining exceptional quality. To do so often requires an absurd amount of studying and practice which truly sets apart those who are writers and those who write. Obviously everyone who writes is by definition a writer but there is so much more to it than simply meeting the qualifications of a dictionary. To be a writer means obsessing over the conations of words, seeing stories pop out everywhere you go, and late nights questioning your ideas. Writing isn’t like any other job where you put in a certain number of hours every day and then you’re done. Writing is a way of life that chooses you and once it has your whole world changes.

So let’s say you’re passionate about writing and have allowed it to embody who you are: how do you begin pursuing the infinite possibilities that await you? Well you could start by staring at your keyboard for a couple hours and converse with your imaginary friends about how you have become the ultimate writer are living the writing life. Just last night you stayed up late into the early morning analyzing an article about Syria’s foreign policy and now you feel you are ready for the type of career that will enable you to write stories that are equally amazing. After that you might even want to jot down a diary entry about your newfound feelings of confidence. Repeat those steps a few times until you realize that in order to experience all that writing has to offer you actually have to write something worth reading.

Initially that doesn’t sound so difficult. After all you can write about anything you’d like. Hear that? Anything. Now tense up for a dramatic pause and wait for the horror of your situation to hit you. You there now? I thought so. You have the whole universe to write about; heck you can create your own universe and write about that too. Now how are you supposed to choose with so many great possibilities?

The beauty of being a writer is that you never really have to choose. You can write a piece on a particular topic then decide you hate what you have written and start all over again with something new. The key is to always finish whatever you’re working because that is how you truly experience all the possibilities writing has to offer. If you’re lucky you might surprise yourself by being able to write an amazing piece on a topic you thought you’d never be interested in.



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