IS WRITING ABOUT WRITING REALLY WRITING—OR MERELY SELF INDULGENT?
OR DOES IT DO SOME GOOD?
I’m completely convinced that the single most important thing to do—if you want to master the craft of writing (an impossible goal within a human lifespan) is to write every day for a decade or two, and then—with luck, and a following wind—you’ll begin to get the hang of it.
If that sounds too grim a prospect, then you should probably find another line of work—and I say that respectfully. Writing is a hard taskmaster and not really a rational way to make a living. But those who are called have little choice in the matter. We write because it is an imperative.
In truth, learning to write—once you have mastered the basics of literacy—isn’t grim at all. The struggle is a good part of the fun, and if you stay with it—and that is the hard part—you will get better.
Now, you won’t feel that way if you have spent day after day staring at a blank screen—not knowing what to write—but if you have made the effort to write something (just about anything) this approach will work. It’s all about having something to say in the first place—a factor that is ignored more often than one might think—and then linking your brain to your fingers—a short distance physically, but a mental divide of Grand Canyon proportions.
Spanning it demands time, huge effort, and fortitude. Nothing less will do.
But why am I writing about writing? Well, because I have recently had a letter from Dr. Gerald L. Kovacich—Jerry Kovacich—saying as follows:
I was going through old backup files and found the article you had written about writing that I thoroughly enjoyed. (copy attached, with my added thoughts for a talk I gave on writing many years ago, when I had hair and yours was not white! :-)) ).
I re-read it and found it as useful as when I first read it some decade-plus ago.
I sent it to my son-in-law who will be writing his first book soon - albeit one on education based on his PhD in Education but still your thoughts are very relevant.
As for me, moved on from information warfare-computer security books (15 total), retired to write more on life's philosophy with a Poems of Life: Thoughts of Human Experiences and now onto another book on our human experiences but in a more narrative form.
I guess mellowed out over the years and no longer care about protecting computers, instead using computers only as a writing tool and communications device. Writing now on "the meaning of life" thoughts.
Are you still in Ireland or have you moved on? I lectured four times in the past but only in London and still have not made it to Ireland to buy you that beer. Spending travel time now in China, making fourth trip there this fall.
Anyway, just thought I would say Hello! from Whidbey Island, WA.
Hope all is well.
Dr. Gerald L. Kovacich
I have made a point of trying to answer each and every one of my 7,000 plus fan letters individually—a gesture that makes no commercial sense—and I feel particularly pleased when I learn I have helped with their writing in some way.
Simply put, I was helped in various ways when I was trying to learn to write—and now feel it is my turn to put something back into the pot. I doubt Jerry needed much help. He is the author of 15 books on information warfare and computer security—but I appreciate his kind thoughts.
So what has the eagle to do with all this? It’s a subtle reminder of my new book HOW EAGLE & CUCKOO SAVED THE WORLD: THE BEGINNING—and it looks good.