The Art of the Written Word

It was once mentioned to me by an English teacher at school that they were surprised by the content of a piece of homework I had written. It was remarked that my written word was far more advanced than my other forms of communications. By this she meant my mouth. I will never forget that day as it was the first verbal affirmation of my writing ability.

The article in question was a mere review of the film ‘Star Wars’, a strong favourite of mine at the time, and a subject I had spent a considerable amount of time thinking about. This was around 1979, and in the UK we had yet to discover the luxury of the VHS player, and my one visit to the cinema with my Dad had been the only opportunity to see a film that had blown anything else I had seen previously clean out of the water. It was to my viewing experience what someone living on rice their whole life would feel given a bar of chocolate for the first time. It was not just a different ballpark, it was a different game altogether. So having sat around in the playground, with months to relive this astounding cinematic experience in my mind, I was just busting to get this down on paper for the world to see. Or just my English teacher as it goes.

huxleyThe point is that I found the written word the ideal way to express myself. I could think about the structure of the article, I had time to consider what I really wanted to say. I could have all the conversations I wanted to have in one succinct statement, tailored to deliver the message I was trying to portray. As an adolescent male, this was infinitely preferable to the outpourings of confused thoughts conveyed by my uncertain verbal skills.

That is the point. It does not matter of you are a teenager or an ageing reptile, the written word gives you the time to think about what you are trying to say. It allows you to take back a phrase made in haste; it allows you to undo a critical error before the damage has been done. In reality it allows you to edit the outpourings of the mind. I have never had this ability through the spoken work, and frequently I upset those around me. How often of an evening I pass off a silent shudder at the memory of an inappropriately spoken word at work during the day. If it had been written I could just delete and rewrite, rather than have to consider the recovery tactics I need to put in place the next day. This is the curse of an overactive mind and I am sure you all know what I mean.

Of course it wasn’t always as easy as it is now. When I wrote my book report at school it was on the pages of a battered exercise book, with scribbled out lines and scruffy revisions. Now we all write on Word, and with ‘Back Space’, ‘Delete’ and the persistent assistance of ‘Spell check’, delivering the written word is more efficient than it ever was before. Of course, we are still subject to human error, and with the quick dispersal of information over the internet, an error can reach a far wider audience in a far shorter time. This is the subject of a previous blog so I won’t go there now. We do now have an easy and efficient framework to deliver the written word to a comprehensive and far reaching audience. Even that school kid with a book report can be read across the globe in minutes.

So for me the motivation of writing is to say the things I want to say, and hopefully get some feedback Exercise Booksand discussion on the topics that spill out of my ever active mind. At this point I have to say I am a little disappointed as to how little feedback I do get at times. It is not the validation I seek, but rather the confirmation that the words I have so lovingly crafted have delivered their intended message. It is also very important to grow as a person, and this is only really possible by consuming understanding the differing perspectives possible on a subject. I believe there is no wrong or right, just relative perspective. So I am keen to know what other people feel about a topic, with no requirement for sanctimony, only the truth.

But that is about feedback, and this article is about the word itself. The use of the language we have been provided with, and the way we sculpture these words into a work of expression, of art, of unique deliverance of a subject. Writing is an art form just as painting is. It is the externalisation of the inner most feelings. It does not mean you have to ebb and flow like a Wordsworth or a Coleridge, or conceptualise as a Huxley or a Burrows. What you write is individual to you, and by definition should be an expression of who you are. And that is the power of the written word, it can portray an emotion, or a feeling, and can be delivered in such a multitude if different ways, of differing methods of construction. It is infinite in its interpretation of life for it is a direct explanation of the random wanderings of the mind. It is the essence of who you are. It does not hide behind colours and objects. Writing is the absolute outpourings of the soul.

Well it can be, not every subject will come from that deep down, but every piece of written work will have attached to it the trappings of its author and carry the thumbprint of your being. Take to your lap tops, to your tablets, write what is on your mind and share this with the world. Let’s make sure the internet and it’s ever growing reach becomes a platform for debate and human growth, not just an exercise in how much can be said on Twitter in 140 words. Use the language you have to express yourself and share your thoughts.

So having said that, please share your comments below. Or if you feel inspired, write an article and post it on the internet. You can always register here and post. I will do my best to assist the spread of your message, of your art.

69 thoughts on “The Art of the Written Word”

  1. Yes, I agree. I love written correspondence, even texts and emails, over phone calls usually. I like to reread a friend’s words to make sure I didn’t forget something. In prior romantic relationships, I loved rereading the flirtatious messages. Phone calls are gone forever once done. At work, I much prefer written communication so there’s no mistake about what was said. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What attracted me to sites are the written narrative, the photos are secondary, the context is very important, You have both attributes. It can be frustrating to find audience who are willing participants and will prefer to live their footprints by ghosting or liking, Words, I enjoy your words. Thank you, Gavin, for writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Writing is my thing. I use the photos to back up my experiences, and sometimes the time to write is not there, but right now I am working on a crazy short story that I hope to finish one day soon.
      Thank you for taking such an interest. I have enjoyed reading your site as well.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, it is a fun thing to do as well. We all have our strengths though, and verbal communication has never relly been one of mine. I envy people who can just know what to say to other people. I aalways find it such a struggle.

          Liked by 2 people

                1. I know. i have been googling Dale Carnagie. I will look further when I am home from work tonight. Some self improvement I can manage myself, fitness etc but some stuff I think I may need some help with. you have really set me thinking now.

                  Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, it does, but I need to let drafts rest for a time and then go back multiple times to get the revisions right. I also love to tinker at the sentence level. Some is genuine, necessary editing; some is just playing for the fun of it.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I think you have a lot more experience with this. For me this is new ground really. I get so far and then I change the way i want it to look so I have to go back. I also find writing dialogue a little boring, but the story really needs it. Still, In view of the recent conversation regarding comfort zone, and my own thoughts in the subject. I need to just get this done really don’t I. Other things are going to have to take a hit though!

                Liked by 1 person

        1. I never finish anything, that’s why I like blogging. If I had more time I would. I know you are an author, I have been meaning to spend some time having a read, but I just haven;t got round to it. Sorry. Actually I’m writing a short story about Donald Trump causing the end of the world as we know it. But I’ve got too caught up in other things. I am going to finish it though!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Donald Trump, eh? I’d say that’s crazy-content. You definitely should finish it. Just think, if enough people write enough stories about Donald Trump causing the end of the world as we know it, maybe that will stop Donald Trump from causing the end of the world as we know it!

            Liked by 1 person

    2. I aspire to be a good audience, but it can be difficult with so many voices competing for my attention. (Twitter doesn’t count. It’s just monkey chatter.) When I have the opportunity, I do enjoy sitting alone in a room with a blog post, taking my time with it, and offering something of my own to add to the conversation. That’s what I’m doing right now, in fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Liz, and very welcome your opinion is. Time is very valuable, and giving enough to everyone is just not possible. Much as I wish it was. I have my own things I wish to create as well, so finding the balance is a struggle. I love your twitter synopsis, I use it to push my blog, and there a couple of other people I have found along the way, but basically it is monkey chatter!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. … “edit the outpourings of the mind”… You have the secret to really inspiring formulations sometimes! I started blogging one year ago because I needed to go back to writing. I wanted to write letters to old friends first but those quickly replied their lives were kind busy right now, and why on Earth going back to pen and paper when you could WhatsApp! I love them dearly, but on that subject, we were clearly on 2 different planets.
    So I started the blog. To see if I was still able to come up with something. To communicate. To improve my English vocabulary. I chose not to write in French (though it would be easier and sometimes, richer!) because I knew the audience would be limited And I needed communication big time. I wanted to reach out to the world!!

    And Twitter? 140 words? I never understood the point!

    Keep on filling the pages… The feedback will come gradually I assure you.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Excellent and inspiring post. I’m always in awe with the writers who can express themselves so well and also with those can speak so well without hesitation. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve had a blogger friend comment under a recent post of mine that she started to read but then abandoned the reading and only looked at the photos. I found it funny because she was frank about it. But this is how it is. People have a quick look, look at the photos, click “like” and move on. Not all but most. No wonder that many bloggers who write along with their photos, or write only, don’t post every day. Some do tricks to land feedback and comments, such as post questions at the end of their posts. Let me not start on influencers and professional bloggers, or those who have books or anything else to sell. We are the lucky ones, I always say. We do it for fun, for pleasure. When it stops being pleasure, we stop. Of course it’s nice to get some feedback too in the process and I’m so grateful to you and everybody else who take some time to comment as well. Better not count on it though… That said, I’d love to read your opinion on Star Wars. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Manja, I am beginning to work is out now. I’ve been blogging for ges, but never realised you could have a following. I actually am really enjoying this now, although as you said, there are some people who just stop and like and move on. I think when someone likes eight of you blogs within about 15 seconds you know whats going on. Like you, I enjoy the narrative as well, although it gets harder to read everything the more people you get to know. I have my little core though, a few people who always take the time, and I try to always look at what they post and get involved. I reckon I’m making some really good friends here. My original synopsis of Star Wars has long gone. But now I think my opinion would be even stronger as I see how the original book and movie have influenced modern cinema. Are you a fan?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not really, but I really loved the first three films. Yes, selection is the key. I find myself following too many people and then I lag behind even on blogs that I really love. You were blogging for years without caring if anybody reads what you write? Hmm… I guess I did it too on my first blog. And then we get spoiled. I know a blogger who simply closed the comments and likes on his blog because he said that the response became overwhelming. I find it strange to go there without being able to do anything, just look at his photos.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. It depends what you are writing about. I a covering bits of my life, my travel and things now. I have tens years worth of ideas! I just don’t have the time. Apart from work and my boys this all I do, and still don’t have any time. But it makes you value the time you do get.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your post on this, Gavin. I have always been a reader and a writer – never a speaker. But my job ended that…being a teacher, you have to speak and read. Not write very much, unfortunately. I found I could enjoy speaking though, and teach how to make a good speech. I started blogging because I wanted to post my poems and photographs to go with them…but not many Swedish people read poetry anymore, and well…then I started to write both in Swedish and English – and finally only in English. but I don’t write poetry in English…Here on WP I have found my new friends to communicate with and even to meet up with in reality – some at least!
    Current research on reading shows that we are losing it – if there are too many words in an article or a book before you reach a picture to “save” you…you stop reading. People skip words they do not understand immediately, a.s.o.
    So keep writing! Only put in a photo now and then…In fact I have noticed that my posts with more text attracts fewer readers and comments. Not that I mind – but it is a fact. And I believe we all want feedback and comments. Just like my students do…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think I have a book in me, but not much time as you probably have worked out, The blog becomes the testing ground, and all the little pieces one day can be sewn together, But the photos, especially of the travel are important as they help to set the scene. Will live in a multimedia world, so we can embrace what we chose I think. Thank you for commenting so thoughtfully all the time. I really do appreciate you/this/it!!

      Like

    2. I was a classroom teacher for several years, and I always found speaking in front of the class awkward. Then I started teaching online. With writing being my natural mode of expression, teaching online is a real pleasure because I get to write–a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Perhaps it is something I need to look into. My issue is I haven’t got much behind me and I need to keep things going for the boys all the time. I finally have found a job close to home that pays enough money, and its like a gem I need to keep polished.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I love words and think we (as a culture/globally) need to nurture writers. At the same time, I am a mass of writing contradictions.
    I excelled in English at school and did well at university partly because I might not have had the best ideas, but I expressed them better than others.
    I worked for years as a copywriter, but my greatest enemy is a blank page. I really, really hated having to write — no matter how much the client liked the result.
    I have become one of those people who feels overwhelmed by the volume of words (especially on the web) and I prefer to keep my own writing to a minimum and tell stories with photography.
    I appreciate well-crafted prose, and feel genuine delight when I read a phrase that makes me see something anew. I just wish that more writers also aspired to hone their editing skills.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see what you mean. I write because it gives me pleasure, and nothing gives me more pleasure than a really well written piece. And by that I mean something I feel happy with. I think as a copywriter you are having to write things for someone else, which is very restrictive if you appreciate the art of words. I’m not sure i would want to do that.

      Liked by 2 people

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