More than commas

LindaBelieve it or not, everyone is a writer.  You aren’t, you say? I disagree. You talk; you communicate. If you can present your ideas with a semblance of logic, then you are a writer. The only thing missing is putting those words on paper.

People believe they cannot write because they get caught up on the rules of grammar, organization, and spelling. Don’t misunderstand me: Grammar, organization, and spelling are all important — very important. But they are not “writing.”

Writing is conveying your thoughts. It is persuading. It is exposing ideas. It is expressing your feelings. You do those things every day; you just don’t do it on paper.

When I first began to write, I did it with pen in hand. Having ink-stained and callused fingers felt like writing to me. Sitting at a typewriter (no computers back then!) and hammering out mechanical words did notseem like writing, regardless of the ideas I was enscribing. However, I soon discovered that I could type faster (about 90 words per minute) and more legibly than I could pen by hand. So, I adapted. I learned to compose at the typewriter.

I bought my first computer for the sole purpose of writing. I learned the hard way that editors often want changes made to submitted work.  I had sent a series of five articles on job-seeking skills to the editor of the National Business Employment Weekly, a newspaper (now defunct) published by The Wall Street Journal. The editor liked my submisions and agreed to buy them, but he wanted a few enhancements.

I had sent him typed pages. To make the necessary changes I had to retype entire pages. Depending upon the extent of corrections and the point in the manuscript they were needed, that meant retyping almost entire articles. 

So, I bought my first computer and learned how to use a word processor. Not only was it easier to make corrections, but now I had a permanent record of everything I wrote. ‘Ain’t’ science and technology grand!

(For the record, today I find it very difficult to compose with a pen and paper. My best thoughts come out on the computer.)

To get back to my original premise: You can write. Put down your ideas. Dictate into a digital recorder; use a legal pad; or sit down at a computer. The method of writing doesn’t matter; recording your thoughts for posterity does.

If you decide to submit your written work for publication, you can hire a professional to help you polish it.

Don’t confuse commas with writing. It’s your ideas that count.

Until next time,

Linda Segall
Segall Enterprises: Writing & Editing Services

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