Returning to “Middle Age Can Be Your Best Age”
January 31, 2020
February 13, 2020

Five Things I Learned from Writing

Photo by Ivan Obolensky

Not in any particular order.

  1. Clarity is more important than substance.

To a reader, substance is paramount, but not to a writer. A writer takes what is in the imagination and puts what’s there into words. Imagine taking up a pencil and drawing what is there before you. Unless you are a master, what you draw will not accurately capture what you see. Words and thoughts are similar in this regard.  Only with constant emphasis on clarity can ideas gain the necessary strength to leap across time and space.

  1. Write what excites me.

If I’m not thrilled, excited, or impassioned by what I write, how can I expect the same of the reader?

  1. There will be people who won’t like it.

It happens in the best of families. Move on.

  1. Take as long as necessary to get the work right.

If I don’t think it’s good enough, it isn’t. Writing is as much contemplation as putting words to paper, and that takes time. Without that, there is no genius; and without genius, it’s simply not good enough. Genius, like a light, will shine through eventually, but it is my lot as a writer to always strive in that direction, even if the timing of that recognition is outside my control.

  1. Be your favorite writer.

I learned this from Isabel Allende. She was in Miami doing an event when a member of the audience asked her which authors she liked to read, and who was her favorite. Her answer was, “Me. I’m my favorite author.” Her answer was profound in many ways.


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