The other night Heather Greene and I talked about the pop culture magic of dance and Theatre. In the midst of that very fun conversation Heather brought up an intriguing point about the rhythm of writing. She explained that when she was writing she wrote to a beat. In other words as she wrote she'd ask herself where she wanted the writing to slow down or speed up or do something else altogether.
I'd never explicitly come across that approach to writing.
Yet I knew what she was talking about because of my own background in literacy and rhetoric, my interest in experimental writers, and of course my own experiments in writing.
Over this past half year I've been doing some experimenting with my writing, so when she talked about the beat of the writing, it made a lot of sense to me and yet it also got me thinking not just about the writing, but the magic in the writing.
The magic in writing is alllll about the response of the people reading the writing. If there's no response, the writing isn't manifesting anything. But if people respond, then something is happening. People are doing something, changing something, becoming something. The writing plays a role in that.
But if you want writing to do that you've got to think about more than just the words you write. You've got to think about the format and appearance of the writing.
This blog post is an example of what I'm writing about.
Note the words which have been bolded for emphasis...That emphasis calls attention to some concept or technique or fact that I want to make apparent to you...or it evokes an emotion, a shared experience that you can connect and empathize with.
Because this is online writing, my paragraphs are shorter. The sentences vary in length and aren't always complete because I'm going for more of a conversational approach.
Then there's the use of punctuation, which creates its own rhythm in the sentence, and in the reading experience. Go back and read the sentence with the ellipses. How does that reading experience differ from the reading experience of a sentence with commas or a period?
Writing has a rhythm and it doesn't have to be poetry to have that rhythm.
The magic of the writing is how the reader responds to the writing; What do they do as a result of reading the writing?
Actually you see this principle at work in speeches as well. A gifted professional speaker knows when to pause, when to speak slowly and when to speak fast. They know how to insert punctuation into the speech, and how to get the attention on the key points of the talk.
So much of my love for writing comes from the formatting of writing, the set up of the sentences and the punctuation and the crafting of the words. It's not just writing words on a page....it's crafting a message that gets a response, whether its a like, share, or comment, or a click on the link that brings you to another site. It's the thoughts the person has after reading, and the actions they take, inspired by the writing.
There's a lot of magic in all of that activity. You just need to recognize it and work it into the writing you do and watch as it takes on a life of its own.
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