No pop metaphysical descriptions here on the life of a rake, my son is too young to really appreciate the humour and pathos in Alfie but he put me on the spot during half-term with some rebellious comments on homework.
“Why do I have to write good stuff anyway Dad?”
At the time I was busy with the hectic shuffling that ocurrs around dinner time so my initial response was along the lines of “Because I’m your Dad and I say so, now just get it done!”
During dinner, we talked about this a little more not least as #1 heir was in something of a strop over why he had to do some homework when his younger sister did not.
As I’m increasingly learning, the questions I get from my offspring are rarely less than thought provoking. I can picture my nan in heaven looking down with a knowing smirk on her face and thinking how poetic justice is particularly after all the grief I gave her when I was a sprog.
So, why bother with good writing?
I think at least part of the answer lies with what writing is. In the absence of telepathy for mind to mind transfer, writing is the substitute for transferring ideas from your mind to someone else. It follows logically that writing is a reflection of your thoughts and thinking processes that have created them.
Poor thinking and an inability to organise your thoughts is nothing more than laziness. Thought organisation requires practice to perfect and sloppy organisation demonstrates laziness and childishness. Bluntly, if you don’t arrange your own thoughts into some sense of order this will be expressed in your writing.
Poor writing is a reflection of poor thinking and represents childish and unprofessional qualities.
If you wish to be considered as childish (and I am thinking of some of the “ickle, lickle babee talk” that populates some of the dating sites I’ve been lurking on recently) then good writing does not matter.
If you do not wish to appear as professional, someone who is in control and understands their subject matter in depth, then good writing does not matter.
If you do not wish to be able to communicate exactly what you are thinking, including what you want or desire, then good writing does not matter.
After heading off pre-teenage rebellion at the pass, I asked my son to start thinking about not only what he’s going to be asking from Santa this year but how he’s going to ask. My thinking was to give my lad some motivation in the right direction:
“Do you want Santa to understand exactly what you are asking for and why, or run the risk of Santa getting confused and bringing the wrong stuff?”
Looking me fully in the eye, sprog maximus says:
“Now you’re the one being a kid Dad, we know you’re the one that brings the presents!”
Looks like I’ve been rumbled on that one Alfie!