Let’s Eliminate Wretched Writing

Learn To Speak The Truth Foreign Language

I’ve been a professional writer for 30 years and in that time I’ve learned a few things. So, with the help of with my old friend Taz, I’m going to toss out some pointers guaranteed to make you a better writer.

“Technology has democratized the tools of creativity, resulting in a tsunami even more cretinous and loathsome than anticipated.” Taz Mopula

Today, everyone can instantly transmit shabby, incomprehensible phrases around the world. We are awash in a tidal wave of staggeringly poor writing. The good news for you is that it is easier than ever to stand out – good spelling alone puts you in the top 5%.

“Writing is the easiest part of being a writer; the most difficult part is becoming a writer.” Taz Mopula

Arranging words is the very last step of the writing process. Great writing begins with great thinking; your writing will improve immeasurably if your thinking and motives are clear.

“On the Internet, all statements are true; including this one.” Taz Mopula

The Internet is like a broad boulevard where idiocy, divinity, and evil stroll hand in hand. The poor reader must learn to separate cheese from Cheez Whiz. Your writing will either exploit and exacerbate this problem or help repair it.

“Learn to speak the truth; it is helpful to be fluent in a foreign language.” Taz Mopula

Truth is the hallmark of great writing. Most people purposely avoid telling the truth. Most of those who try, fail, since they habitually deceive themselves. While there is no such thing as absolute truth, understanding and sharing your personal truth catapults you into the top 1% of all writers.

“We write to discover who we are, and in the process, become somebody else.” Taz Mopula

Writing well requires a reckless disregard for comfort and safety. Be Columbus, sail off the edge of a flat ocean and you and your readers will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. Personal evolution is an almost inescapable byproduct of great writing.

“Ultimately it’s not what you don’t say that matters most so much as how you don’t say it.” Taz Mopula

Here is an exercise for you – listen to the music of Thelonious Monk for a day. Listen to the spaces in-between the notes. The confident writer says more by saying less, but when you do say something, make it count.

“Even the greatest paintings are flat; they only become three-dimensional in the eyes of those who behold them.” Taz Mopula

As a rule, writers are arrogant, narcissistic, impatient, self-indulgent and drunk. You’ll find over time that these qualities work against you and must be mastered. The finish line is the realization that you are a craftsman and a servant – without your audience you are merely a mime performing at a school for the blind.

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Alistair McHarg

Alistair McHarg was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved immediately to Edinburgh, and three years later moved to Amsterdam. At 6 he settled in Philadelphia and for 16 years was confused by Quaker education; Germanton Friends School and Haverford College. A Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville nudged him even closer to unemployability. Convinced at an early age that fate had chosen writing as his calling, Alistair followed a characteristically slow and circuitous path. He has found work as deck hand on a Norwegian tramp freighter touring South America, Bureau of Land Management Emergency Fire Fighter in Alaska, guide at a Canadian wilderness survival camp, truck driver crisscrossing Colorado's continental divide, and inner city cabbie. Alistair has been arranging words on paper for a living since 1983.