Why is writing like jazz

A good writer is like a jazz musician. Every good musician has a lot of knowledge about music. They’ve got a background in music. They know their scales and their music theory; they attended numerous classes and practised. What makes a fantastic jazz musician, though, isn’t just their knowledge of the rules. It’s about bending them to make incredible music.

Undoubtedly, there’s a craft to writing. However, inspired writing is so much more than good spelling, orthography, and proper syntax.

Sure, spelling is important. You need to know your “its” from “it’s,” “their” from “they’re,” and so on. 

Following the rules blindly makes you a decent craftsperson. Sometimes, it’s good enough. It gets the work done when you have to write an email or a proposal or anything else that requires proper grammar, good wording, and adhering to rules.

It’s not necessarily enough.

Grammar, spell checking, and knowing the basics is all good and dandy, but it does not make you a good writer in itself. It’s only when you know them, you’ll know when, and how, to bend them. Or even break them. Play with known tropes. Use a known expression but with a twist. Break the rhythm. Play with known conventions, or even abandon them altogether (think of Cormac McCarthy’s sparse punctuation and lack of quotation marks). 

When setting out to work, you should have some idea of what you’re trying to create instead of going blindly. A plan. A rough draft. Like a musician, a writer doesn’t start out without some sort of a map.

And then, once your piece is done, your work is not over. As a writer, you still need to do revisions, fix up your work.

Once you’re done with your own edits, you might want to have a professional give your piece a look-over. If you want an edit, email us.

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