Lessons about Writing in the Works of Various Artists

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Most recently, I have read several powerful essays in Exploring Language, by Gary Goshgarian, which give straightforward advice about becoming a better writer. One such essay is ?Writing for an Audience,? by Linda Flower. She believes that a good piece of writing closes the gap between the reader and the writer. Another essay that I will be looking at is ??Getting Started,? by Anne Lamott. She believes that good writing is about telling the truth. Patricia T. O?Conner wrote an interesting essay titled ?Saying is Believing.? In it, she tells us that a good writer is one that you can read without breaking a sweat. Which leads me to the final essay that has helped influence my writing style, ?How to Write with Style,? by Kurt Vonnegut. He contends that your own winning style must begin with ideas in your mind. The essays written by Flower, Lamott, O?Conner and Vonnegut have supplied me with a multitude of lessons and advice, so that I may improve my writing skills and engage my reader better.
The first thing that struck me as important is that the writing style must change to meet the different needs and demands of the individual reader. Linda Flower states in her essay, ?Writing for an Audience,? that ?a good piece of writing closes the gap between you and the reader? (156). Before I knew this, I tended to write for an audience of robots, while I now understand that my reader?s have unique faces and personalities of their own. In her essay, Ms. Flower gives concise explanations of my audience?s needs. What does my reader?s need to know? Can they easily digest what I am writing about? What is my audience?s attitude towards my subject matter? For example, I?m going to write an essay about my dog. First, I need to determine what I?m going to convey to my audience. I?m not a veterinarian, so my paper would not be technical. I would probably write about how I taught my dog to do some tricks. When I determine what I would like to teach my audience about my dog, I realize that I need to adjust my language so they will understand what I am trying to teach. I don?t want to use language that will confuse or lose the reader?s attention. And finally, I must be able to grasp how my audience?s might view my topic, so that I can gear my essay in the proper direction. Are my reader?s first time novice?s when it comes to training a dog, or do my reader?s have more experience in that area? Nevertheless, I need to keep in mind the importance of accommodating to the reader?s needs.
How do I begin writing the first sentence of an essay or letter? According to Anne Lamott in ?Getting Started,? there is no magic formula or secret, ??some code word that has enabled me to sit at my desk and land flights of creative inspiration like an air-traffic controller? (162). She offers suggestions that I found very helpful while writing this essay. I followed her instructions about sitting down everyday at the same time. All I was doing is staring at...

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