Archive for February, 2011

Writing in the 21st Century
By Sally J. Walker

Historically, creative writing is a solitary, lonely venture. One’s words, images, concepts form in one’s mind and are then transferred to paper (or computer screen). The writer performs these tasks alone. Even when two or more writers work together, the creative process still takes place in each writer’s mind.

Creating in this manner takes a certain degree of self-confidence and self-discipline. The writer has to be motivated to get the words out in order to communicate with another human being. Yes, writing is done first for one’s self but the ultimate purpose is to share those words, images, concepts with another human being.

Here in the 21st century most of the western world has access to the “instant communication” of the electronic world. The power of written communication has exploded even as the visual world of telecommunications has made us eye-witnesses to contemporary life. Thus, writers are now communicating with a better informed audience. Misspellings, poor punctuation, misused words are intolerable faults. Poorly researched assertions are inexcusable. The pressure is on for writers to write their very best BETTER than the other guy.

How do 21st century writers meet that challenge? They network with other writers to keep informed on the perpetual changes in the publishing world. They take the time to communicate with their peers to share information and, yes, to critique one another’s efforts. Strangely, that camaraderie is not counter-productive in a competitive market. It merely raises the stakes and makes the competitive writer work harder to produce the best written work possible. “If it was easy, everybody would do it” is the serious writer’s motto. Thus writers appreciate one another. They support one another.

All of the above concepts are woven into the foundation of the Nebraska Writers Guild. Our 85 years of “Excellence in Writing” is advanced through the Guild’s conferences, July retreats across the state, e-mail list-serve, critique groups and Speakers Bureau. Yes, each of us writes alone but then we network and communicate to grow our creativity. The writing greatness of Nebraskans in the 21st century will be comparable or even surpass those who led the way in the 20th century! Mark my words!

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