Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: The Art of Writing
By Kathie Thomas
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I enjoyed studying English at school and when we were asked to write I revelled in the fact that I could participate in this subject well. There was joy in putting pen to a fresh page in my exercise book and before the teacher had finished their instructions, I was busy writing. It wasn’t unusual for the teacher to instruct the class to do a minimum of 250 words and then add in the same breath, an instruction to me not to do any more than 500. The kids probably thought I was showing off but I really just enjoyed writing. I didn't excel in sports activities but writing was 'my thing'.
And so I've spent a lifetime writing about almost anything. At a young age my mind would be filled with fictional stories but somewhere along the line I found easier and more satisfactory writing about things that happened to me, or others that I knew. As I came to know our Lord at the young age of 14, my writing turned more towards what I was learning from Him and often based on various verses from the Bible and their particular meaning to me at the time of writing. And so over time I've been learning the art of writing and different forms of that art. I wonder if that's what the Renaissance artists experienced. A change in their preferred subjects as they grew older.
However, I don't do well when writing for a formal process, such as tender specifications. I'm too wordy and my writing is managed in much the same way in which I speak – probably too much for the liking of some! Although many have told me they like my chatty style and since that is the way I feel most comfortable writing, then I stick with it.
Going back to the differences in the English language, I was never more aware of them than when I first came in touch with the Internet. I thought at first people were not using the correct words (such as 'see' and 'sea') but then I found that in the US they spell the piece of paper used for paying someone from your bank account as 'check' whereas in my own country it is spelt 'cheque' and I found I had to consciously make the effort to think in those terms, rather than when you are checking that something has been done properly. I see words as images in my head so I had to do a quick change to get the image right. Likewise I've been told that many words I use are 'old English' and no longer in use by many people on various chat forums but on discussion we've been able to discover that those words might be considered 'old English' in one country and not in another. It's been fun exploring the use of different words in different countries.
The biggest challenge, which could become an embarrassment, is when a word has a completely different meaning in another country and might be an offensive word or a word of slang for something entirely different. I find myself far more conscious of the meaning and use of words these days and am constantly learning to craft my art so it is more universal, rather than country specific. I've written articles about it on blogs and in business magazines. However, I've found not all writers do the same. Many books I've read seem to be written specifically for an audience of their own geographic location. They forget that a global audience would be reading their book and not just a national audience. Two books I read last year, relating to marketing and developing a business at home, suffered this problem.
And so I continue to read to further develop my craft and learn from others, and continue to write on many different themes, using the keyboard and computer as my canvas for my art – the art of writing.
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