Acknowledging Craft

Dennis A. Mahoney lays down some guidelines for improving the quality of writing on weblogs. Turns out that writing for the web isn’t that different than writing for other media. Be focused. Be concrete. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Many weblog writers do not write as a creative act. They auto-write; they record their thoughts as unconsciously as possible in a journal to which they’ve given the whole world the key. This rambling self-expression is such a fixture of weblog writing that waferbaby.com has created a program that generates random teen weblog babbling.

Compare Virginia Woolf’s journals to her novels. Turning experiences recorded in a journal into a work of fiction or into an essay is hard work. The main task is to take what is told and transform it with language that shows, rather than tells.

Writing is both art and craft. Like any craft, writing requires knowledge and practice. Lot’s of people don’t want to make the effort to learn the craft. Now that anyone can self-publish on the internet, the only motivation to learn how to write is a desire to better express oneself. In writing, more than any other form of self-expression, perfecting one’s craft is looked on with suspicion, as something that limits self-expression rather than expands it.

An alternative point of view.

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