Writing Processes Essay
In “The Transaction: Two Writing Processes”, author William Zinsser relayed his experience from a school arts festival wherein he and a surgeon (also a writer on the side) were asked to come and speak about writing as a vocation. Zinsser, a full time writer, lightheartedly yet seriously examined the difference between a full time writer and a part time writer.
Zinsser’s overall point was that a serious writer, or rather a writer who writes as his or her main vocation to make a living, must view it as a craft, something to be worked at and perfected. While there are writers who elevate the craft to an art, he is not one of them, he asserted. Rather, he explained his life as a writer as hard, lonely, and cumbersome, not the glorified romantic version that many may have of a writer’s life.
His “fellow” writer, a surgeon in his professional life, used writing as more of an outlet for expression, energy, and creative juices. This writer did not count on writing as his sole source of income, and enjoyed many chats over lunch with publishers and fellow writers, rubbing elbows so to speak. He explained his writing process as enjoyable and fun. He enjoyed working on something and coming back to it when he got writer’s block. He spent as much or as little time on his writing as he liked.
While Zinsser’s life as a writer does not seem appealing to many, it is a job like most others, according to Zinsser. It is something that must be practiced and perfected and worked on daily. Unlike his counterpart who only wrote when he felt like it, Zinsser stated that he had to write even when he didn’t feel like it and he had to dedicate a lot of time to making his writing more professional, readable, and correct by rewriting and rewriting and rewriting.
At the end of his essay, Zinsser stated that no one writing process is right; it is however the writer feels most comfortable.
Although I’d like to say that my own personal writing style mimics that of the surgeon/part time writer, I know that that is only how I really begin my writing, especially my academic writing. I would like to feel inspired and relaxed, but the truth of the matter is that I am very nervous and self conscious about my writing, especially when I know that it will be evaluated by my peers and instructor for a grade or feedback.
Like most students, I would like to receive high marks on my papers, so I spend that extra time to ensure that my writing is error free (or as close to it as I can get), coherent, and enjoyable. If I can’t get enjoyable, I at least want the other two principles to apply.
However, this task is not easy, and I often find myself up at 1 or 2 a.m. re reading and writing my papers. I hope to make them as perfect as possible, but I also believe that there is no perfect piece of writing – that a piece can be rewritten over and over again; it is never truly finished. Perhaps this is the art side of the writing coming out. However, I know I have to stop somewhere and turn it in.
Writing is something I would definitely like to enjoy as an art, but for now, I will have to work at it as a craft.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 March 2017