Writing in specifics

posted by Jonathan Frei On Saturday, October 03, 2009
It's not the job of the writer to rehash old ideas, and consolidate them into broad general statements, as much as it is to uncover new ideas through the general and collective knowledge that is already present in the world. Now finding that new knowledge, within the collective knowledge, is a skill that is not natural to the thought process. It takes a conscious uncovering in order to develop and nurture the traits before one can effectively find those new ideas even if they're in plain sight.

With the dawn of the Internet the sharing of ideas has become easier and much more accessible to a larger number of individuals. This has exponentially grown the pool of collective knowledge, and exponentially increased the way that that pool can be accessed, studied, and grown.

I see it as my task as a writer to reach into that pool or even to dive right in, swim around, see what I find, and discover the unknown creatures that reside within. I'm not sure that this is a task that I'm up for or qualified for, but it is something I have a passion for.
Who am I to write these things? That's what I'm trying to find out. And as I go forward, I understand that it will be a challenge to write in specifics about specific subject rather than flirt with the obscure, use vague generalities, or broad sweeping statements. I have a tendency to use the word 'everything' or 'everyone' which really don't have any place in good specific writing.

What this is about, then, is developing the skills and disciplines to write well about something specific. This is a simple process: pick something to write about, and while you're writing about it, don't write about anything else. I am not good at this yet because I struggle so much with the first step.

However, I'm starting to hone in my subject matter and am finding it easier to pick a subject and complete a post on it. It is more challenging for me than I imagine it is for other writers, but that doesn't bother me. The time and effort it takes to produce is ultimately not the important thing. Rather, the finished product is what matters. And this is only the beginning of what I hope will be a long and splendid journey.
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