Saturday, February 23, 2019

What Is The Source of Great Writing?

I often think about my writing influences, including my dad, books that I’ve read, and the world around me.  I have so many good models to keep me on the right path.  Authors should never lose touch with what inspires, informs, and nourishes their writings.

One of my earliest influences was reading Dr. Seuss and Curious George books.  They both put the mind on adventure mode and instill in us a questioning, curious way of seeing life that carries into one’s writings and creative thought process.

I also reflect on great books that I consumed many decades ago and still ignite something within me. including Crime & Punishment, The Invisible Man, 1984, Lord of the Flies, and Hamlet.

The Socratic dialogues also help me to be a better writer, as did reading the columns of gritty tabloid journeymen columnists Jimmy Breslin, Dick Young, Mike Lupica, and Pete Hamill.

To be a great writer also means to be a great reader – to be informed of life and to be cognizant of various writing styles and techniques.  To be a strong writer one must also think a lot, perhaps many more hours than living out real experiences to help shape the world one wants to envision and lobby for.  The biggest danger to being a great writer might be to have too much of a good life, where you spend too much time doing and enjoying, not enough thinking or suffering.

I don’t mean to suggest one can’t live a full, happy, and rewarding life – and be a great writer – because that wouldn’t be true.  Nor would it be accurate to say a writer must suffer something tragic or truly terrible in order to understand pain, loss, frustration, anger, or disappointment.  A writer simply cannot find the right balance of living and observing, experiencing and writing –unless he or she both does something with their life and takes the time to reflect, feel deeply, analyze, and imagine something better, different, and more satisfying.

If one wants to get the mechanics of writing down, he reads something like Writer’s Digest.  If he wants to be a more informed writer he consumes books like almanacs and dictionaries, and eats up news media reports.  But if he wants to be a talented writer who can move others with mere words, he’ll need to live a little, feel a little, and appreciate the world for both what it is and what it could be.

Great writing can’t speak to everyone, for it must appeal to a specific group and their needs, experiences, and understanding of things.  Book sales, awards, and the news media have proven this to be true.  Unanimous consent for a book amongst the literati is nearly impossible – and most assuredly so for a diverse world of consumers and their varying experiences, desires, needs, education, abilities, and resources.

There’s no one set formula for great writing.  There may be widespread agreement for certain elements of writing – but superior wordsmithing comes from a variety of sources.  Everyone needs to find their proper ration of books, experiences, and alone time that feeds their writing.  

How will you make your writing better – more influential, more powerful, more truthful?  How will you find the best word combination to transform a reader into your world?  What could you say or do that will allow for your writing to mean something to more people?

Each writer finds his or her way, at their own pace, in their own manner.  The good news is there are many people, places, books, media, and quiet hours for us to learn from.  The world, with all of its glory and imperfections, serves as your laboratory.  Mix the right elements together and you may just create something so powerful and original that your work will inspire other writers.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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