December 14, 2011

On Discernment

Posted in Flow, flow in writing tagged , , at 5:27 pm by Rebecca Hein

A large component of writing lies not so much in putting our sentences and paragraphs together as in discerning what to put in and what to take out. Say you’ve written a brilliant lead; your piece is nearly done and then you realize that the lead doesn’t fit.

In the past, I’ve found it hard to let go of a well-written passage, even when it’s obviously not right for the piece it’s in. This reluctance in turn clouds my thinking and makes it harder for me to rewrite the section to better fit the piece.

The way out is to cultivate a finely-honed discernment which helps us decide on our content. This skill is more important than working directly on clear sentences and well-ordered paragraphs because if we have that clear discernment, our basic writing will flow better. Then choosing the right word or where to close a paragraph will be that much easier.

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