There’s a certain doctor I know whose assistant cannot stop talking. I dread those visits. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone quite like this woman. Nice enough, but constantly, constantly jabbering Maybe I just have a low tolerance for chatter, but the whole stream of consciousness routine unnerves me. It’s a barrage, not a conversation.
Sometimes writers are like that too. They take up the reader’s time without saying anything, as reflected in this humorous quote from Steve Martin: I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper. I agree that getting thoughts down in their raw form is important. Thoughts don’t have to be polished or perfect or even usable in a manuscript. The process of writing, even with no “end” in mind is a great exercise in learning to observe and think about life. But when I pick up a piece in its final form, I want to see the author’s heart. I want to know what is most important to him or her. I want to know what this person is really striving to communicate. I don’t want an author to prattle on mindlessly just because he / she has a bunch of blank paper to fill up. I want him or her to be guided by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s philosophy: You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.