Editorial

Want to learn how to write? Here is your chance.

Friday, October 13, 2017

“Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing,” S.J. Hayakawa

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go,” E.L. Doctorow

Everyone has a way that they can “give back” or mentor others in their community. With that in mind I have been trying to think of a way that I can. Taking all my limitations into account, primarily time constraints (that we all have), I have decided that I am willing to mentor some in our community that desire to learn how to write. I will do this for free because I think it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. Writing can be a gift, but it can also be simply a skill that someone has developed. Either way, it does not just automatically occur without work, but it is definitely worth it.

To be considered educated, one simply must be a reader and MUST be able to communicate. It matters not what you actually know, if you are unable to convey that knowledge effectively. If those profound thoughts are locked away in the prison of your mind and you are unable to use that knowledge in some way by communicating them, then those thoughts are essentially worthless to the world.

There are many things that employers consider when looking at a job application or resume. There is a litany of other things also being evaluated when a person is interviewed as well. But all hiring managers agree that being able to communicate is absolutely essential in every job out there.

We also know that all leaders must be able to communicate, because ALL change comes only through effective communication. Those that can effectively communicate are in high demand and have a great deal of influence, because most people simply don’t. Therefore, those that can communicate effectively are already from the “git-go” a step ahead.

But, the fact of the matter is, when it comes to writing and communicating, we are all students, because no one ever knows all there is to know.

One of the key requirements of becoming a great writer is to be an active reader. Almost like magic, those that read, automatically become more effective writers. BUT, reading is not enough by itself. It has been said, that those that wait for inspiration to write, are not writers, they are waiters.

Another benefit of becoming a good writer is the emotional healthiness of being able to process the raw emotions that life brings your way, particularly if you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Just as blues players must play from their experience and soul, so too must writers write from what they know and what they feel and what they have been through.

Additionally, the Delta has a long heritage of producing great writers of many different forms. Would it not be fantastic if one day this immediate area became specifically known for its writers in a way similar to Memphis (blues), Austin (live music), New Orleans (jazz), Kansas City (barbeque), Greenville, Miss. (novelists), Hollywood (acting), Nashville (country music and publishing)? There are already some good local writers and even a writer’s group that regularly meets in Blytheville.

I remember having an English teacher that always encouraged her students to read as much as possible. She essentially said that she didn’t even care what it was that we read, including Playboy or Sports Illustrated, just as long as we were reading - because all reading adds value. Likewise, I have the belief that it matters not what kind of writing you are doing (novel, poetry, play, blog, short story or journal). As long as it properly uses the English language and not “text speak” or excessive acronyms (LOL), then I’m all for it.

I don’t know if there will be any interest in this, and if there isn’t that is okay. But I do know that anything worth doing is worth doing well, therefore, I will have to limit how many people I attempt to work with at a time.

So here is what I propose: I will take on up to five people of any age that shows a true desire to learn how to be a better writer. I will not dictate what genre, form or subject (within reason) that the person will use. And I will give constructive (and kind) advice on ways to improve. I will also give examples of techniques that I myself use. The only requirements that I insist upon is that the person truly have a burning desire to become a better writer (I’m not going to be a babysitter) and that the person put in a diligent effort of learning and writing. I will invest in them, if they will self-invest as well.

If you are interested please send me an email (tom@tomhenry.org) explaining why you should be selected as one of the five. I will not be judging your email based upon grammar, spelling or writing ability. But I will be evaluating your passion and desire to learn the art and science of writing. I look forward to hearing from you.

thenry@blythevillecourier.com