Writing is hard

Reading and writing are fundamentals of human communication that most of us are taught beginning at an early age, yet few of us truly master the process of writing to the point where we are able to express ourselves adequately.

A couple weeks ago, I started writing an article about some recent events that were significant to me. I haven’t finished it yet; in fact, I haven’t worked on it for the past week. It’s not out of laziness nor is it because I don’t care about the topic anymore that I temporarily quit trying to finish it. It’s actually the opposite: I care a lot about it, and I’m finding it impossible to express myself in a manner that comes remotely close to satisfactorily communicating my thoughts and feelings.

Writing is much more than putting words on a page or a screen. It’s about helping people understand one another at a level that’s simply not possible by simple observation. This is true whether you’re writing about a painful life event or just reviewing an iOS app. The point is to get the reader to undergo the same emotional and thought processes as yourself. Perhaps you’re trying to teach a skill, communicate the usefulness of a product, or just get the reader to empathize with you on a human level. Regardless of your goal, as a writer you need to have the ability to verbally lead your reader to the place you’re trying to go. I’m finding this to be much easier said than done.

Maybe I need to stop writing about things that matter to me until I’ve magically transformed into a brilliant author. Maybe I just need to dump my thoughts out over and over until I’m able to make sense of them. Maybe I’ll never be able to communicate in a meaningful fashion. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that instead of ending on a downer, I’d much rather point out some people who may not be best known as writers, but whose works I find greatly beneficial and enjoyable.

Matt Gemmell used to be a Mac and iOS software developer. Now he’s switched to writing full-time after years of contributing to various magazines and newspapers. I enjoy reading Matt’s articles and seeing the thought and care he puts into them. He clearly cares about the craftsmanship involved in good writing, and it’s instructive to gain some insight into his thought processes as he embarks upon a major career and life change.

Brent Simmons is a developer who writes Mac and iOS apps, and helps develop and clarify his thought processes on programming by writing about it. Most notably, he recently wrote a series of articles on designing and implementing sync for Vesper, an iOS note app. For anyone trying to learn iOS programming, this type of resources is invaluable. Picking the brains of the masters is a good idea in any profession or hobby.

Brian Zahnd is a pastor in Missouri. He’s also a prolific writer on the topic of the mistake Christians in America make by siding with their host empire’s views of violence, war, and the “us vs. them” mentality.

Elden, aka the Fat Cyclist isn’t really fat at all, but he really is a cyclist and a writer. I like to bike too, so I enjoy his stories, but it’s more about his ability to spin a yarn and convey the pain and competition of organized cycling events that keeps me looking forward to each new post of his.

Ray is DC Rainmaker and writes reviews on products that will interest runners and cyclists, and he’s an interesting character in his own right. Ray is definitely a model of positivity for those who want to suffer a lot.