“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” – Toni Morrison
Two of my literary heroes, Flannery O’Connor and Joan Didion, have remarkably similar thoughts about why they write. O’Connor said “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Echoing O’Connor, Didion said “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”
Any writer finds herself in that position when she begins putting words down on paper. How and where do you begin? How do you know when to end, and how? How do you flesh out the details? What do you leave in, what do you leave out? If you’re writing a paper for school or college, how do you present an argument, and buttress it with supporting evidence in a way that is pithy and accurate?
Good writing isn’t born, it’s made, through revision and editing. Clarity of thought and word, which is the first duty of any writer, emerges with each succeeding draft.