Good writing.

You want to be a good writer. Good writing is perfect and cathartic and effortlessly interesting but that’s just not how it’s feeling, is it? You hold off on writing because you don’t want to share if it’s not flawless. You don’t want your writing if it isn’t immaculately written. You can’t claim your writing when it uses words like ‘bad’ versus ‘abhorrent’ or ‘sad’ versus ‘distraught’. Honestly, sometimes isn’t it just sad? There’s no other way to describe it.

You want your writing to feel refined, but not pretentious. You want your writing to demonstrate you once won a spelling bee. You want your writing to also be humble. I mean really, the spelling bee only had about ten people. You want your writing to seem down-to-earth. Unassuming. You want your writing to be the kind of writing you’d like to grab a beer with. Good writing.

Good writing reads like a melody. Good writing starts short. Terse. Pithy. Then, good writing lets sentences flow freely and slowly pulls the reader in, flirting with their emotions, gradually increasing their intensity of focus, leading into a grand crescendo…. and a crash. Good writing plays a musical variety. Good writing has read Elements of Style.

Good writing feels easy. Relatable… just not so relatable that it doesn’t even have a point. Good writing isn’t … obvious. Good writing will challenge your reader. It will linger in their mind and rudely overstay its visit. Good writing will show up unannounced. Good writing will wait until the reader is performing some mindless, routine act like making their morning coffee and will then suddenly and violently pull them back in.

Although, does all good writing have to be capable of that? Sometimes, good writing takes a very ordinary moment and transforms it. Good writing turns a dreary subway commute with an old man, shaggy dog and screechy train cacophony into a scene from an award-winning piece of musical theatre. Good writing will paint a rainy walk through the neighborhood so it is suddenly poetic and heart-breaking. Isn’t that good writing?

Or is good writing telling a story that hasn’t been heard before? One that captivates the reader? Good writing, perhaps, is incredibly unique, a story that is singular, novel and never been told before. Good writing is about a multi-dimensional character that’s nuanced and morally ambiguous. It’s a plot with unpredictable turns. It’s an ending the reader never expected. Now, that’s good writing.

Or, perhaps, you just have to start. Maybe, good writing is simply writing that’s been written.

Good writing… is writing that exists.

Good writing is alive. Good writing doesn’t lifelessly wander in your mind, awaiting the perfect cathartic release or the perfect piece of stationary and pen or the perfect weather to be able to produce good writing… Good writing doesn’t yell angrily at you from the dark corners of your subconscious, demanding your attention, asking why it isn’t more punchy, more concise, more beautifully written. Good writing doesn’t ask you to define yourself. “Oh, so you’re a writer now?” Good Writing mockingly asks, as it leans lazily against your abandoned guitar which is propped atop your pathetic crochet needles, adjacent a dusty espresso tamper. Good writing whispers into your ear, how long before you stop? How long before you are glancing at just another pile of papers with ink of your fading aspirations half-heartedly scrawled across it? How long before you grow tired of writing and you end up running instead? Or how long before you’re drinking with your friends? Or before you are simply spending hours staring at your phone like a mindless, inattentive carcass thinking oh, should I write? What’s the point? Who is even reading it? Is this even good writing?

Fuck good writing. Just write.

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