Growing In Curlicues: Don’t Write About Writing

I knew a guy who was determined to learn to write.

He planned to do that by writing about writing.

The problem was that he couldn’t figure out what to write about.

Writing about writing was boring. He could explain the techniques, but he couldn’t understand them. He couldn’t do them. He had to do mental back flips to use any of the techniques he needed to practice, because he had to be doing them and talking about them on two levels at the same time. It made his brain hurt and his creativity shut down.

Writing is a practice.

As is growing.

Writing about other things seems like an unnecessary offshoot. But it’s the practice that makes you good. It’s the exercise that makes you stronger. It’s the swirly tendrils that make vines climb high.

Growing things advance in subtle embellishments. Sudden swooshes. Blooming curlicues.

Humans aren’t designed to grow in straight lines.

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  1. I love this Morgan! Growing in curlicues. What an awesome image!

    And true.

    Growth is not linear. It happens in fits and starts. You grow, then you recede. Then you grow a bit more. Your path zigs where it should have zagged. And half the time you end up walking in circles. Curlicues, so to speak.

    Like you say, knowing and understanding are two different things. You can have one without the other. And I think that’s pretty damn cool . . . so long as you know which toy you’re playing with.


    • Morgan Alverson says:

      Thanks Trevor! I suppose I should add that my friend didn’t want to write about anything besides writing – he thought it was a waste of time. It’s a little different with bloggers who occasionally blog about blogging (on top of a pile a good articles about other things). 🙂

      It’s interesting to think of understanding without knowing (since knowing without understanding is more common). I suppose that is the definition of intuition. And you’re right, that is pretty damn cool, especially if you can tell the difference so you don’t spend all your time upset that the one isn’t the other. Each combination is good in it’s own way – we just have to recognize and use it.

      Thanks for making me think. 🙂

  2. Writing has to be more than just words in some agreed upon order. The message is what makes it worth reading. If there is no message, or a poor one, what is the point? I studied philosophy (alongside you) so I could have a grasp on understanding certain aspects of the world. If I understood how to understand the world- and learn from it- then there would be something worth writing about.
    Love your site- very focused- very zen!

    • Morgan Alverson says:

      Thanks Heidi! It’s good to hear from you!

      I agree. I always think of a quote attributed to Hemmingway (though I can’t find it on google) – “Writing is easy, it’s having something to say that’s hard.” Not that writing is easy, but the meaning matters more than the words. The challenge is to understand the world, not just talk about it. That’s what I like about philosophy too. 🙂

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