1,000 Words: Writing as Art

Some of the best authors could be described as artists.

They are the ones who believe that writing is not simply about information transfer; it’s about creating something. (Click to tweet)

Forming an idea and inviting the reader to mold it with you. 

Painting a picture of what could be and imagining together what it would take to get there.

Restoring a former perspective by strengthening it with fresh materials.

I’m not sure all authors could be described as artists, though. A case could be made to that effect, so maybe it would be more appropriate to say not all authors are good artists.

In any case, I’ve been looking back over what I have created in previous posts. I would not consider myself a great artist. There are some “pieces” that have totally fallen flat, and others that have encouraged me to think, dream, and become.

Face Down

The posts that have not been effective seemed like I was just talking. I’d hate to say I just like to hear myself talk, and I don’t think that was the intention. But, that’s what came across. 

It’s not that the topics weren’t worthy; it’s that my approach wasn’t. How you say things is every bit as important as what you say.

Other writings are just OK. They don’t rub me the wrong way, but, well, they don’t actually touch me at all. Afterward, I wondered why I read it…which made me wonder what I had written it. It didn’t move me. 

Fresh Dreams

There are, however, some posts that continue to resonate in my heart and soul. I’ve thought a great deal about the characteristics or principles inherent in these pieces as I seek to become a better artist — a better writer.

  • It’s not about creating a post; it’s about creating an image. Blogs are a dime a dozen. You can read several posts a day and be filled with information. Now, which of those dozens of posts do you remember? I’d be willing to bet it was a piece that created an image for you. It could have been the way something was worded or the illustration used, but it put something in your mind that was memorable. 
  • Write what you live. Nothing provokes memorable imagery more than a life truly lived. Writers who live what they write are much more effective than those who write to live. Perhaps the best thing you can do as a writer is to stop writing long enough to live something worth writing about. (Click to tweet)
  • Ask good questions. Bloggers love to ask questions. But sometimes those questions are just ridiculous. Often they come across as some corny way to get people to respond so we know that someone out there is actually reading this stuff. The art in this is asking good questions. Questions that draw the mind to new places. Questions that are open-ended. Questions that allow the reader to answer in a way that makes sense in their life context.

Make Believe

Let me put it another way.

The best writers retain a childlike sense of wonder and curiosity.

Even if you’re writing about gears in a machine, you can take me to a place in your writing that I can see and experience it. If I’m talking about parenting, I can bring you into my world and ask you to dream about yours. Writing about awakening in faith is an immersion into the mystery of God as opposed to a religious formula — and everyone loves a good mystery.

So, I will live a life worth writing about. Then I will get out my chose medium (a keyboard). And I will keep practicing, creating, dreaming, and believing.

I just might look back someday and find a masterpiece.

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