Opinion: Discovering oneself through the act of writing

Rudy Leyva

Rudy Leyva / Staff Writer

A room is full of hopeful candidates applying for a few positions being offered by a company. Human resource personnel are checking over the applications that have been turned in. A woman calls out the name of one of the applicants as she continues to look over the document in her hand. A young man approaches the desk. The company representative asks if he has ever had any previous work experience. The applicant confirms that he has. She then points to his application and notes that he had failed to write that information down. She hands him the paperwork and as he walks away to complete the form he says, “Man, that’s why I quit school; ‘cause I hate to write.”
The young man’s aversion toward writing could be difficult for those who enjoy juxtaposition of symbols – words – to understand and communicate, but for others his statement may resound with a familiar ring.
Oral communication was pretty much the sole means of transmitting ideas, thoughts, desires and general information until 3500 BCE when the Phoenicians developed an alphabet. From that time right up to the current New York Times Best Seller List humans have used writing to great advantage for both personal and socio/historical gain.
While the act of writing can be difficult, the skill can be acquired through the same methods as any other skill is learned; instruction, effort, patience and discipline go a long way in learning how to write, and the reward is far more than just a reward. Writing opens doors, major doors, and it speaks about who it is that is doing the writing.
A few basic things to know about writing can be beneficial in helping the novice move ahead and advance themselves, even quickly, once the determination is made to embrace this important art. Riding a bicycle can be as simple as sitting on a clunky, single-speed bike, pushing the pedals one at a time to propel the bike forward, or as complex as doing breathtaking stunts on a mountain trail using an expensive 4-thousand dollar GT Zaskar 100 9R Carbon Expert Mountain bike. Writing shares a similar spectrum and can bring joy at all levels whether using a tablet and a pencil or the latest writing software.
Simplicity rules when it comes to writing. The purpose of any written thing is to convey information to an audience, a reader. In a world where so many distractions are taking place, the audience may or may not have much time to spend in reading anything you’ve put down and so it crucial that you learn how to keep word-clutter to a minimum. The fact that your words originate in your thoughts indicate that your mind needs to be free from clutter as well. A remedy for a cluttered mind is to remove the stressful elements that might be associated with having to write. Relax. Really relax.
As you are now at ease with your thoughts, think about what it is you want to put in print. Think of someone you like, and imagine that you want to tell that someone a story and then begin writing down what you would be saying to them.
This process will generally lead you to your style of writing. Style is a crucial element of writing because it highlights the nature of your uniqueness as a writer. If you attempt to emulate the style of another writer, it doesn’t create a good style of writing for you as an individual; it only serves to make you sound as if you are trying to emulate the style of another writer.
Once you learn how to approach writing with a simple focus, an uncluttered mind and an appreciation for your own distinctive style, you will find everything else begins to fall into place.
There are unlimited resources available to aid in learning about the wonderful skill of writing. At the college level people are expected to be fairly proficient at writing, but in case there are weak areas that need to be worked on one will find that there is assistance to be found. At Del Mar, the Stone Writing Center stands ready to help in such matters.
In your quest to learn how to write you will certainly want to obtain a dictionary and a thesaurus. These items will expand your ability to express yourself on different levels. You will also want to have in your toolbox a list of books that you want to read; the more reading you do, the easier your writing will be. And then write. The more writing you do, the easier it becomes.
The young man did not get the position he was hoping for. Whether or not his disdain for writing was a factor in the company’s decision to pass him over is not known. What is known is that since writing began it has played a most crucial role in humankind’s overall progress and continues to do so. It is an admirable strength to anyone who acquires the skill, and without the desire to learn how to write well, one can assume there is an exceedingly great void that exists within.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

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