From September 5, 2022, posted here on February 12, 2023
So since High School, some 40+ years ago, I have thought about being a writer. Since then, the thought has come and gone, mostly gone. In High School, I wrote poems. My English teachers and of all people my coach (he was not an ordinary coach) encouraged the writing and would read everything I wrote and was full of encouragement and support… I am sure the poems stunk, but I did not know that at the time. But, once I left High School, the writing stopped. I was an English major for a time, because of my love of reading and I was lucky enough to have great English teachers in High School to facilitate that love. But it was hard, and it stopped… I dropped out (actually to be honest, I failed out of college) and although the reading continued for a while, it stopped.
Life has had it’s ups and downs, just like anyone’s. I thought I was special. Not that way! I thought my lot was worst than everyone else’s, how arrogant.
Not really the point for today. I am soon to be 60 years old, and the idea of writing has pulled at my shirt tail again. And then I have come across Jordan Peterson and his thoughts and encouragement to write. So I am going to start.
JP’s Writing Guide…
I have seen it before, and I was watching a short video with him and a guest talking about the importance of writing, so I did what you do in 2022 – I search online: ” jordan peterson how to learn to write”.
A quick aside, I did not google it, google is evil and although I use some of their products I am working (slowly) on getting off of the google products, so for search I use https://presearch.com/ .
I came across an essay (appropriate), some videos, and his word doc on writing an essay. For ease, click here for the doc.
The idea came to me, thus this long drawn out introduction, to actually work through the document to begin my writing efforts. The goal is really two fold (actually 3): 1, Learn to write well. 2, To be able to help teach my kids the importance of writing well, as well as how to write well. 3, To document the process that I am taking to help me keep on track.
So, this is a long way in to begin, but I will anyway with some of my highlights from the essay… not sure how far I will get, but I am sure this will be a multi post process. I know you are thinking , Yea! lol! Most of the beginning will be me just cutting and pasting important parts of Mr. Peterson’s doc.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
What is an essay?
An essay is a relatively short piece of writing on a particular topic. However, the word essay also means attempt or try. An essay is, therefore, a short piece written by someone attempting to explore a topic or answer a question.
Why bother writing an essay?
The primary reason to write an essay is so that the writer can formulate and organize an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about something important.
… if you want to have a life characterized by competence, productivity, security, originality and engagement …, you need to think carefully about important issues. There is no better way to do so than to write. This is because writing extends your memory, facilitates editing and clarifies your thinking.
… the person who can formulate and communicate the best argument almost always wins.
If you learn to write and to edit, you will also be able to tell the difference between good ideas, intelligently presented, and bad ideas put forth by murky and unskilled thinkers…. Then you can be properly influenced by profound and solid ideas instead of falling prey to foolish fads and whims and ideologies, which can range in their danger from trivial to mortal.
… it is useful to note that your mind is organized verbally, at the highest and most abstract levels…. This also means that you will be healthier, mentally and physically,…
Don’t ever underestimate the power of words.
I will stop this here with some of JP’s why’s. Compelling for me. This is going to take some work.