Popular opinions about writing can greatly influence the way one approaches the discipline of writing. Two stances that particularly affected me are the academic dislike of semicolons by Kurt Vonnegut and the religious dislike of adverbs by Stephen King. There are a lot of other firm practices by writers and editors on what she or he believes is proper.
These opinions by Vonnegut and King stuck with me. After reading them, I found myself resistant to using both semicolons and adverbs. I’ve let myself be influenced by certain takes on writing that I adopted, mostly due to being seduced by the authoritative aura of big authors.
Yet, I want to write in a manner that matters to me. To allow myself to experiment as I write. To try a writing style that is aligned to what I find appealing. Whether or not these represent my own personal writing preferences can only be judged in time. Finding one’s written voice starts and sustains in viscosity. To be obligated by witty prescriptions on how to write may be part of a writer’s path, but this doesn’t mean they need to stay on the path.
I remain impressionable by advice, however eloquent it may sound, from writers. My course correction is to not have such advice haunt me.
To King, “The adverb is not your friend.” According to him, “the road to hell” is paved with them. I’m aligned to his practice of uncluttered writing, but I find comfort in befriending an adverb, or more, when I feel it’s appropriate, as I feel my way in making a written passage. And I try to do so honestly, affectionately, freely. My road to hell remains under construction.
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