If I had to use one word to describe myself as a writer, that would be: over-thinker. I tend to spend a long time writing, especially in a professional setting, because I get very anal about my word choice. Often, it feels as if I want everything to be perfect from the first draft or review. I also painstakingly overanalyze sentences, replace words to tweak the styling, and restructure sentences that may not make sense on my first reaction. Therefore, I find writing to be certainly far from easy, as opposed to some who may think otherwise.
Zinsser and Word Clutter
Upon reading Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, these may come off as good traits because Zinsser highly encourages rereading, reassessing, and rewriting. However, upon reading the third chapter which discusses clutter in writing, I notice that my writing may violate some rules of clutter as described. For example, I tend to add unnecessary euphemisms and replace simpler words with more flowery words in order to appear professional. This may be because most of my understanding of writing has come from school, where more often than not I am bound to a certain number of words or pages for an assignment. As a result, I feel that I have been conditioned to try to add as many filler words as possible in order to meet these requirements. If that’s the case, then I may be sacrificing a huge part of what it means to be a good writer (conciseness) for a false sense of professionalism.
ADD and Writing
As someone who has ADD and was even prescribed various medications throughout my life, random thoughts come and go very quickly for me. Sometimes these thoughts are good ideas, so I tend to forget them and then lose focus. This may also be part of why I spend a long time writing. I fear that I am going to forget a good idea, because I often do forget. So, in order to be able to retain good ideas for writing, I jot them down as soon as they appear in my mind. This way, they don’t have to be implemented in my final piece per se; but having them for reference helps me a lot when trying to think deep or critically and retain my focus.
What Good Writing Means to Me
I feel I have always understood why good writing is important, especially when someone is trying to share ideas, market a product, influence people, or communicate in an effective manner. That being said, I haven’t always enjoyed it, probably because of my difficulties with it and the longer-than-usual amount of time I spend on it. Though I have recently started to appreciate good writing more, perhaps because I am now writing in my fields of interest through my master’s program rather than analyzing literature or writing prompts on topics that I could care less about.
I hope to improve on my writing by making the distinction between trying to appear professional and actually writing professionally. I also need to write more concisely instead of rambling; and this may require a combination of factors such as substituting big words with simpler ones if necessary and not being prompted to write to a specific word or page requirement.