Is Writing A Skill Or An Art Form?
Is Writing A Skill Or An Art Form? I Will Leave That For You Too Decide
Is writing a skill, an act of artistic expression, or art? It is all three, to be honest with you. According to many, it is an expression that is developed much later in life than other forms of artistic expression.
I wanted to be a writer since I was young. However, I had to take a minor detour before eventually starting my journey as a writer.
Along the way, I picked up many disciplines and skills that do help me in my journey as a writer today.
Someone once said: "Art is the house where writing lives, and skills are navigator to the address."
The truth of the matter is, writing combines skill into an art form. It is also a craft. You do have to work at writing. To call yourself a real writer, you need to write every day.
Sometimes that writing includes journal writing. Sometimes it includes writing poetry and songs. Songs are just words put to music. It all directly relates to one another. You have to write even if you do not feel like writing.
There have been many days where I have not been in the mood to write. There are many days where my grammar and use of words is not the best. I continue to write, though. The act of learning how to write is critical in improving your craft.
Did I know how to write when I was younger? Somewhat. I took classes in high school. It was in college, where I learned how to write more efficiently. I had teachers in college honing my talents.
One teacher told me, "You have the talent to make a living at this, but you need some help developing your skillset with the grammar."
I was already making a living as a writer in college, but I learned how to become more professional. That is where the craft comes into play. There are two kinds of writers (in my opinion).
1) You are the type of writer that does it as a hobby. An excellent example of that is journal writing. Journal writing includes everything from a personal timeline of your life and personal feelings to expressing various feelings when you need to get them out.
2) You are the kind of writer who wants to or already is making a living at it. You get paid for your work from clients. That work can include everything from blogs and opinion pieces to technical research. Either way, you are paid for the privilege of your craft (and it is a privilege).
What Is Writing
This section is where another debate comes into play. Some people argue that some are just born with the natural talents of writing. I have had a few people (my family included) that have told me I was born with natural talent. I try not to get too bogged down in that way of thinking.
I just look at my writing as "I am doing what I love."
However, I do suspect that I might have had some natural talent from the beginning. I was always interested in things like English and Psychology. I use my degree in Psychology every day when I write, in various forms.
The idea is to not only know what is writing but what to write. Most writers write what they know. Most writers also do not know what they will write about when they sit down to write. You have to have an idea behind it (a message if you will). You have to know what to say and how to word it.
You have to create that balance of getting your message across without revealing too much. Lack of mystery is death to most writers.
Some Tips on Making A Life of Artistic Expression
1) You need to create a scene. I will be the first to tell you that I am not a technical writer. I have never been, and never will be. That is probably why I am always in trouble with my grammar.
I am a storyteller. That is the artistic part or writing.
You have to create a story involving everything from sensory and sensation to imagination.
Does some writing require you to create an element "suspension of disbelief"?
Yes, it does. Sometimes when you write, you are incorporating fantasy into reality. You have to get the reader to believe it. That is where suspension of disbelief comes into play. We learn that in Psychology 101.
Gus: It must be something making stuff up all the time?
Catherine Tramell: Yeah, it teaches you to lie.
Gus: How's that?
Catherine Tramell: You make stuff up. It has to be believable. It is called suspension of disbelief.
There is a lot of truth to what the character of Catherine Tramell has to say (and she is a writer).
2) You also have to find a new way to say something that has already been said before. Once again, this is where your imagination comes into play. You have to come up with new words and use them correctly. Writing does take skill. Some people are born naturally with it. Others have to work harder at it.
3) You need to grab the reader's attention. I sometimes have trouble with that, especially on my off days.
Every writer, no matter how accomplished they are, has off days. You just have to keep at it. Most writers spend the rest of their days honing and improving their craft. No writer is ever satisfied with what they have written. That is a sign of a real writer. You always find yourself saying that you could have done and said it better. It comes with the territory.
4) You have to be yourself. Try not to become a "poor man's trademark." All you are doing is passing yourself off as a poor substitute for the real thing.
It is like robbing Mary to pay Paul and Peter. It is not going to work.
5) You can use interesting, unique, and big words. However, you do have to know what they mean. In other words, do not just use a big word to look fancy. Know the correct meaning before you insert it into your content. You are going to look like a fool otherwise.
So, is writing a skill or an art form? It seems to me that a writer starts their journey developing the skill (craft) of writing and, with experience, develops the ability to tell a good story. That is where the art form comes in. Storytelling is truly an art form unto itself, but the ability to write that story clearly and compellingly requires skill.
Now It’s Your Turn
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