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Directions: Write, Read, Rewrite. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as Needed.

August 12, 2010
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I thought I’d start off with this article written in the New York Times by Susan Sontag about writing. This article applies to ALL writing, not just professional, creative or academic, and even this post will go through steps 2 and 3 a number of times (not forgeting the a touch of the trusty F7 button for old times sake) – I’ve already done it once! 

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WRITERS ON WRITING; Directions: Write, Read, Rewrite. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as Needed.

By SUSAN SONTAG Published: December 18, 2000

Reading novels seems to me such a normal activity, while writing them is such an odd thing to do. . . . At least so I think until I remind myself how firmly the two are related. (No armored generalities here. Just a few remarks.)

First, because to write is to practice, with particular intensity and attentiveness, the art of reading. You write in order to read what you’ve written and see if it’s O.K. and, since of course it never is, to rewrite it — once, twice, as many times as it takes to get it to be something you can bear to reread. You are your own first, maybe severest, reader. ”To write is to sit in judgment on oneself,” Ibsen inscribed on the flyleaf of one of his books. Hard to imagine writing without rereading.

But is what you’ve written straight off never all right? Yes, sometimes even better than all right. And that only suggests, to this novelist at any rate, that with a closer look, or voicing aloud — that is, another reading — it might be better still. I’m not saying that the writer has to fret and sweat to produce something good.

”What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure,” said Dr. Johnson, and the maxim seems as remote from contemporary taste as its author. Surely, much that is written without effort gives a great deal of pleasure.

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