How to become a self-aware writer

Writing and reading mirror each other. Each is a communication process that involves a sender and receiver of information. When you play the role of reader, you are the receiver of information. When you play the role of writer, you are the sender of information. In fact, you are both the creator and sender of the information.

There are few processes in the human world that are more complicated than the creative process. For some people, remarkably, the creative process seems to spring forth full blown from the writer's head (as did Athena from the head of Zeus. If you don't know this reference to Greek Mythology, Look it up!).

Some craftspeople, for example, can pick up their tools and begin working, creating the image of the final product as they go along, anticipating (thinking ahead), and ending with a finished work of art that is appealing and attempts to convey the message or evoke (bring forth) the feelings that the artist wishes to convey.

Most artists and crafts people must spend a good amount of time (a good deal of time) thinking about what they are about to create. When they have an idea of what they will create; they consider the materials they will use (sometimes called the 'medium' meaning 'way', or 'means').

The term 'media' refers to the means of communication, such as newspapers, radio and television; 'medium' also has the meaning of 'average').

They consider the tools they will use. They often draft a plan or sketch of the final product (sometimes in great detail), They assemble all the necessary tools and materials; they decide on an order of tasks or actions; and then, when they are sure about what they have to do and how they will do it, then they begin work.

As you can see, much of the hard work is up front, in the preparations for the task. The actual creation of the product takes place towards the end of the creative process.

For example, remember the illustration used earlier about baking a cake? First, one decides what cake to bake. Usually one follows a recipe (the plan). Then one gathers the ingredients (the materials) and the cooking utensils (the tools) necessary for the job. Often one will review the steps in the recipe to be sure to be able to anticipate difficulties along the way. (Preheating an oven is an example of anticipating what will happen next; often a recipe will remind you to do this, but sometimes they don't and it is always worth remembering, is it not? Only then should the baker begin to bake!)

Writing is a creative process as well. Remarkably, as with some bakers and cakes, some people can just sit down and begin writing and write all the way through to the end. They have the talent to do this and their finished work will be effective (the message gets across) and coherent (understandable).

Not many of us can do this. Most of us must think hard before expressing our thoughts in writing. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank page, knowing you have to write something, but not knowing what to write or what to do about it.

Copyright: 2004 English 4 all, Inc.