I have to admit, when Robin first mentioned that I would be trading off with Melanie over the weeks during our time as interns writing guest blog posts, I was a bit worried. I mean, who really cares what I think? What am I even going to write about? Then I was kind of excited when I heard about and saw the feedback that I got from my first few blog posts. I might not be so bad at these blog posts, I thought. But then, the next few posts weren’t as good.
As I was thinking over what I had written, I thought that maybe I just wasn’t thinking about my audience. I’m used to either writing to friends and family or for teachers in an academic context, not to professional writers or some of the other people who read Robin’s blog. If they’re already published and/or have finished all of their schooling, they might not relate to my fear of showing people my own work or the fact that rigorous school experiences might hamper the desire to read for fun. At least, not at this point, where some of the readers are in different stages of their lives than I am. The first few posts were easily relatable (at least, I personally think so). The rest, not necessarily as much (feel free to correct me if you want). And I do believe that everyone has something in common with everyone else and can relate to any person on a certain level (though some more than others). But when you only show a piece of yourself in whatever writing people are reading, they’re either going to like it and relate to it or not.
I’ve also been reading things online about writing that have caught my interest and I’m becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that school is starting soon, so I’ve been thinking about past classes, future classes, etc. With all of my thoughts about the blog posts and writing and school swirling around in my head, I’ve come to remember and appreciate more all of the little details that contribute to good writing. Not just grammar or plot, but names of characters and places and other little nuances like that which really need to be thought about – whether consciously or subconsciously – in order to make the piece of writing enjoyable for the reader. I personally never really thought I was that creative when it came to names. The piece that I read about names in writing talked about how the reader should be able to pronounce the name – so it can’t be too terribly crazy – and it shouldn’t be too similar to another character’s name in the same piece of writing, because they could be easily mixed up. I just had this huge reminder that those little details matter. Incorrect grammar and bad wording drags the quality of writing down, but if the reader can’t follow along or doesn’t have the desire to follow along with the story because of those small details, then how much does the grammar matter?
I think sometimes we get caught up in the little details that are less significant, and we have to keep in mind the big picture and then make sure we address the details that most pertain to the big picture. Like, will the audience even care about the subject I am addressing? Am I using language that is easily accessible? Because really, why bother with those other details if no one is even going to read the writing (I mean, other than for personal growth reasons…)? What we address also depends on our greatest strengths and weaknesses. If someone’s biggest weakness is grammar and that is the area most detracting from the quality of the writing, then the details to pay attention to would be in the grammar. In my case, I think I’ve needed to keep my audience more in mind.
I love the fact that I’ve gotten this reminder before school started (it’s not that I didn’t know these things, it’s that I hadn’t thought about them for a while). After all, I’ll be writing papers for my classes. Most of all, I think this can apply to everyday life. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Sometimes we all just need to stop and look at the big picture. And we need to identify what details we need to focus on for a bit (because we probably should look at all of the details at some point) so that we make the big picture look good. If you’re struggling with anything, no matter what it is, I guarantee you that almost always you will be able to do something little, to change just a tiny detail, to make the situation better. So maybe we can apply this to our writing and our lives. Because sometimes we need to put all of the details together, take a step back, and look at the big picture; and sometimes, we need to work on the details because the details can be the things that make something great.