Being Other People’s “Write-Hand” Person

Tommy WroughtThis is a guest post by Peter Felton, author of “Tommy Wrought“.

Peter Felton was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. He is the author of two books: Daily Public Transit Ridership: The Inside Scoop (2012), and Tommy Wrought: A Musical Reflection of Children With Special Needs (2015).

Felton’s well-rounded exposure to the multifaceted offerings of the world of American education as both a student and teacher has led him to a lifelong career serving numerous roles in a variety of schools touching upon all scholastic angles of the academic spectrum: public, independent private (co-ed, and single-sex [covering each gender]), parochial, cooperative, immersion, and special education.

Felton remains a firm advocate for the importance of integrating music and the arts into everyday learning, regularly exhibiting elements of each in his own routine instruction, working with students in all grades K-12.

To learn more about Peter Felton, visit his:
–Author Page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Peter-Felton-113559689029202/)

Peter Felton

Author

Writing comes more naturally to some than others.  For many people, writing feels like more of a forced task than a pleasurable pastime.  For students in school, writing takes the form of essay assignments, research reports, and book analyses.  For working professionals, written communication among supervisors, colleagues, and clientele remains strictly business.  Since people in these categories tend to view writing in more of a technical light, with the benefits of any natural writing skills on their parts often (regrettably) taking a back seat to the specific information needed to be conveyed through specific language, the art of literary delivery can sometimes be overlooked in favor of getting the job done versus truly enjoying the merits of human expression in the process.

That is where we as authors come into the picture.  Often, acquaintances of ours (family, friends, and business associates alike) feel honored to be in our midst as “celebrity figures” who have achieved the (seemingly) impossible by writing and publishing one or more books.  This flattering affection understandably encourages us to move further forward in our writing, frequently using those in our surroundings as subjects of inspiration for future written works.  But when not working on our own literary endeavors, we may find ourselves exercising our writing skills in another equally profound way: helping others master their literary craft for the sake of polishing products such as: speeches, annual reports, cover letters for jobs and school applications, or even the most basic of emails and editorial commentary.  After all, we feel just as honored to be asked by “everyday people” with whom we want to maintain close connections and not let our “celebrity status in the public eye” go to our heads, to assist them with sharpening their own resourceful tools in the writing realm.  It is therefore only appropriate that we follow the following useful guidelines for effectively and openly aiding others in further developing their respective forms of literary expression.

It goes without saying that correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization serve as the backbone of strong writing.  Even if ideas are conveyed in a simple, precise manner without too much detail, any and all lacking in the above essential areas makes for a disastrous piece of writing that will prove to be more off-putting than enticing in readers’ eyes.  Although computers are capable of correcting these minor mistakes electronically, having a human being walk another member of the same species through the process of proofreading their work makes all the difference in the world in terms of making or breaking a fantastic piece of writing on anyone’s part.

Next, it is important that we help those who seek our literary wisdom develop and grow their own writing style.  This is easier said than done.  When we read someone else’s writing (not including published works of professional writers) for the first time, their use of language may seem completely opposite of ours.  Although that comes with the territory of writing owning the same human individuality as one’s: tone of voice, body makeover and movement, brain chemistry, and natural reactions to sensory elements in different environments, depending on how much pride we own as published authors when it comes to upholding our own writing styles, or emulating those displayed by writers whom we deeply admire, it is very important that we refrain from turning somebody else’s writing into our own—both in the legal and literal sense of the idea.

Let’s say that you—as an author, English teacher, or avid reader—are enamored with the English language and enjoy its extravagance to the fullest.  Just having information conveyed in straightforward, direct ways is not enough to tickle your fancy when it comes to mentally and soulfully ingesting the wonders of the written word.  What do you want more of to hit the spot?  Detail!  The more the merrier, right?  Well, not necessarily.  While many people in any or all of the above categories typically take the detailed approach to reading and writing due to their literary effervescence, that hefty main course of food for thought may cause other/most people to uncomfortably overeat in the department of literacy.  After all, what is wrong with laying out the basic content of one’s ideas in a clear manner without going overboard in descriptions or additional pertinent details?  Nothing at all.  While supporting details definitely elaborate upon the material at hand, their presence may make the underlying sentence structure uneven and cause the developing writer at our side to feel more uneasy with the writing process as a whole—which is last on our list of priorities for helping them gain confidence in their abilities to understand the value of solid writing, and in turn take pride in creating their own style of corresponding expression in due time.

Just like the positive transmission stemming from our idols and their creativity that help to give us those lightbulb moments during our writing, we need to do the same for those who we are helping to grasp similar means of uplift throughout their literary ventures.  Therefore, we must provide constant, sincere compliments reflecting their efforts and subsequent growth as writers themselves.  A little goes a long way, especially when it comes to tackling the perplexing yet profound pastime of writing.

When perusing our associates’ writing, we may have questions for the up-and-coming writers regarding their choices of certain words, phrases, and/or the inclusion of random thoughts into their penned pieces.  Rather than jumping to conclusions and assuming that those given selections were mistakes or unnecessary for the piece of writing at hand, our inquiry and genuine interest as to the purpose of those intriguing usages of language will allow the writer to share the background behind their thoughts the way they want to with a prospective audience, allowing them to feel open and comfortable with their otherwise internally uncertain literary expression—a major step up from where they (felt they) were before seeking our guiding hand.  This moral support we have provided them as both authors and people will likely spark newfound confidence towards further exploration of literary innovation on their end, picking up from where they left off in their current output.

Since writing is every author’s forte, when putting pen to paper or fingertip to keyboard, we find ourselves working away at creating our new literary innovations almost effortlessly, breathing our thoughts one after the other, looking at the resulting language with utmost familiarity and affirmation.  We engage in this pastime regularly, often relying upon the guidance of those we admire to help us symbolically through their written creations that we view or listen to time and time again.  Now it is our turn to pass the baton to those who look up to us, and encourage them to carry the torch to new levels of thought and personal satisfaction on their parts.  That will give these newborn writers the same elation that we as both veteran writers and newfound literary mentors feel all the time when engaging in this fulfilling activity, now mutually doubled upon our comrades having experienced the identical awe and wonder of concocting gratifying pieces of writing they may never have deemed worthy of recognition, let alone conception, to begin with.

And with that, we joyously welcome the newest members of the writing club, in hopes that they spread the word and enthusiasm to others in the future!