Words are beautiful! In the end, every book or publication is a collection of paragraphs composed of sentences crafted with words. As a writer, I strive to compose prose or poetry that causes the reader to pause as if enjoying a cooling breeze on a hot, sun-soaked day. I believe this and work diligently to write in this way because,
“Language is a Miracle.”
For a moment, stop and consider the complexity of language. Think about the physical, mental, and emotional mechanisms that must activate when someone speaks and another person hears, or someone writes, and someone else reads. What is required for us to accomplish this feat, which we take for granted, is nothing short of miraculous.
I do not intend to ask you to endure the boredom of a discussion of our anatomy required to complete the transfer of information between people. What I do hope is to ask you to pay more attention to the wonder of human communication. I want you to relish the opportunity to write, read, speak, or listen to beautiful words. I pray that you find something written with skill and beauty by a person who cares about you, the reader, more than the content of their writing.
I believe that the secret to beautiful crafting beautiful words, whether spoken or written, is in that last statement. Do I care about you, the reader, the listener, my audience? I have found that loving your content more than you love the people you share it with is a terrible pitfall. I have fallen into that pit myself. It is a miserable, embarrassing experience.
Oddly, beautiful writing and speaking may require that you ignore some widely accepted conventions. I have found that writing in much the same way that I speak makes my written work better. I and confident of this because I consider how the reader, like a listener, will hear and understand my words.
As a trained journalist but never a practicing journalist, I learned how to cover the five “W’s and an “H” when writing the lead. Studying literature and writing forced me to abandon the stricture of “the lead” and journalistic writing style. I have continued to use it for business clients, but I exercise far more license when designing and crafting language as a writer.
I am committed to the idea that all of the best prose has poetry in it. Why? Because poetry is the song set to no melody. It speaks to more than the ears; it pings the heart. Here are three things I believe help me write with elegance and beauty.
Write for my reader
Will my reader understand what I am saying in words? Can I keep my expressions as universal and expressive as possible for the person I hope will read my work? I can say, “I love you.” I can also say, “When I think of you, my thoughts cloud and clear at the same time. The air I breathe streams through my nostrils like cool water washing over my parched throat. In that moment, I see you, and only you.”
I once heard a man say, “never take 2 minutes to explain what you could take 20 minutes to explain.” I will admit that brevity has its place. But not in creative writing. We have the license to emote, to inspire feelings with words pictures. Remember your reader and write to them.
Get Big, Get Better
The second thing that helps me write with elegance and beauty is a growing vocabulary. Mundane isn’t it, building an extensive vocabulary. You need to grow your vocabulary because words change, new words enter the lexicon, and old words fall into disuse. More and more words have drifting meanings. If you are to write well, you will need to keep up with words as they move through our language. They are alive, dynamic and ever changing. Never forget that as a writer and a speaker words are your tools. Stay sharp, keep them sharp and acquire more and more of them. It is better to have and not need than the need and not have.
Start Writing and Never Stop Writing
Finally, find writers who excite your mind with the use of words, how they turn a phrase, and use words to incite flights of thought. Find more than one and study their writing. Practice writing your thoughts in the style of writing they would use. Write what you are thinking as if they were writing. Purchase a journal and write daily, even if it is just a sentence or two. Make writing in your own hand and with your voice a daily habit. When you write in your journal, write as if you know someone who follows you will pick it up one day and read it.
Start Today, There Is No Time Tomorrow, Unless You Live To See It!