I’ve recently been involved in a little discussion over on Facebook about ‘proper’ writing and how my daily writing for a particular day wasn’t ‘proper’ writing but was still writing.
Now you’re thinking lots of different things I’m sure.
Do I mean writing using formal, even posh, English language?
Do I mean writing legalistically according to the rules of language, spelling and grammar?
Do I mean writing a book instead of a blog post?
So, what did I mean?
Well, in this case, I meant writing a Facebook post or comment instead of writing a formal ‘piece’ which I posted or saved on my laptop. It had no title, and was an informal response within a discussion.
But as it was long and discussed a lot of important issues, it might as well have been a saved piece or blog post. So I counted it as my daily writing for that day, and told those in the Facebook group I was accountable to I had done my writing, but it wasn’t ‘proper’ writing.
And then it all began. A discussion as to what I meant, as to why I’d used the term ‘proper’.
It got me thinking, what is ‘proper’ writing, really?
And what I began to realise very quickly, is ‘proper writing’ is just a myth.
Dispelling The Myth
We all know there are grammatical laws, basic things like correct spelling. But there’s some ‘lesser’ rules which not every writer uses. For example, you aren’t meant to begin sentences with ‘and’, yet I do it a lot.
Many argue we must stick to these rules for it to be a ‘proper’ piece of writing. That informal pieces like posts on a Facebook discussion on the latest issue, don’t count as ‘proper’ writing, and neither do pieces which break most of the rules.
This complete garbage though.
It’s all writing.
And it’s all ‘proper’ writing. It’s all valid. Useful. It’s all come from somewhere inside of us. Every word we scribe speaks something about who we truly are. (you can tweet that one)
We should be free to write how we like. And it doesn’t have to be a formal piece, or a saved piece on your laptop, a blog post or a book.
It can be a tweet, a Facebook status, a Facebook response, an e-mail.
These are all very different forms of writing, very distinct from each other. Yet all of them have something in common. They represent an outpouring of something inside of us. They come from within us. They are an expression of who we are.
If we’re going to be published, of course we need to have spelling, grammar and basic dimensions correct. No one can ultimately stand a book or even a blog post with appalling spelling or grammar.
But not all writing is published. And not many first drafts are the published drafts. When we do what my friend Jeff calls ‘free-writing’ (which personally is one of my favourite things to do), there are no rules.
There’s no such thing as ‘proper’ writing.
And even with published work, we are free to be our unique selves. Always.
If you want to improve as a writer, I would always advise writing daily. But don’t feel guilty if you didn’t write a masterpiece, or even a short blog post. If you’ve been involved in a discussion on Facebook or Twitter, if you’ve posted an interesting, thought-provoking post on social media, if you’ve poured part of yourself out in words today,
then you have written.
We all have words in us just waiting to be poured out. And some of these words might just be beneficial to others too. You’d be surprised how your story might resonate with someone. How your words might strike someone just at their point of need.
Yes, even you.
So go write. And remember there’s no such thing as ‘proper’ writing.
There’s your writing. There’s my writing. And many words and stories to share.
Are you with me?
Question for Reflection
Do you categorise your writing? What categories are useful, and which ones can we dispense with?
Let me know in the comments below!
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(Picture: Online Source)
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