No good writer is a fast reader!

One of the reasons for engaging in blogging is to hone one's writing skills. As I have learned, doing so can be a daunting task. I often ask myself 'what distinguishes a polished writer from a mediocre blogger'. At last, thanks to Twitter, I have discovered the secret of of writing elegant prose. A Tweet by @jackshafer ( writes 'Press Box' column for "Slate") got me to an essay by Joseph Epstein, a portion of which appears follows.

Heavy sentences: "Learning to write sound, interesting, sometimes elegant prose is the work of a lifetime. The only way I know to do it is to read a vast deal of the best writing available, prose and poetry, with keen attention, and find a way to make use of this reading in one’s own writing. The first step is to become a slow reader. No good writer is a fast reader, at least not of work with the standing of literature. Writers perforce read differently from everyone else. Most people ask three questions of what they read: (1) What is being said? (2) Does it interest me? (3) Is it well constructed? Writers also ask these questions, but two others along with them: (4) How did the author achieve the effects he has? And (5) What can I steal, properly camouflaged of course, from the best of what I am reading for my own writing? This can slow things down a good bit."

 I pride myself on being a fast reader which in the world of good writing skills is apparently the door to mediocrity. There is some hope in that I do well  as far as  question (5) is concerned.  One out of five is a hell of a lousy score and does not bode well for my writing.

I'm sure there are other points in the essay which would help my ego when it comes to writing but I read the essay so fast that I find it difficult to articulate any of the fine points . Hold everything , there was one gem which I believe will salvage my blogging career - " The only way to write is well, and how you do it is your own damn business".

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