S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Learning to write

It's commonly said that it takes at least a million words of practice before one's writing starts to become presentable. The quip is most commonly used for fiction writing, but I recently realized how true it is of any writing.

Last week, my father dug up emails we'd exchanged back in '94. I was writing about my time at Smith. There were all sorts of interesting details about my life that I'd forgotten, but what struck me most was how immature my writing was. It was clunky, full of repetitious use of language which added nothing to meaning. In the genre of casual email-writing, at least, I have earned my million words of improvement.

P.S. One of the events I'd managed to forget (how?!) was that Madeleine L'Engle had visited campus that year and given a talk in the chapel, which I attended. (She was a graduate of Smith.) She died on Thursday, as a great many of my f'list have mourned.
Tags: the craft of writing

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