The journey for writing is different for many people, but it is intimidating to all. You’re learning the structure and style for your genre of writing, and you’re trying to understand the audience that you are writing for. Once you have that nailed down, you then undergo the process of learning how to write—elegantly.
What is elegant writing? Many will say that elegant writing is clear writing. It’s writing that does its best to stay out of the reader’s way. It shows when it needs to; it tells when it has to. The reader is uninterrupted in their journey to the end. That is what some would call elegant writing.
As I dive into my grammar course—learning all structures of the sentence with its varying phrases and clauses—I am reminded that there is another element: punctuation.
I had written previously about rules being tools, and this is ever more apparent as I go deeper through my course. My love for semicolons has been reignited; I try to ensure that I use them sparingly. I’ve relearned the proper use of colons, which had somehow abandoned me, and parallelism rears its head to keep my writing flowing.
Now I see it more and more as I revisit my favorite written pieces. I’m not only focused on the word, but I am focused on the period, the comma, the em dash. I can see when a writer (or editor) wanted the words to continue to flow or come to an abrupt stop.
It’s a conversation; a deeper conversation that I am not used to having with the writer. And as a writer, it’s a toolkit growing piece by piece, and it is up to me as to how I use it. If used correctly, maybe I can deliver my own elegant writing.