The Secret of Writing

Brooke Schwartz
2 min readNov 15, 2021

There is nothing more daunting, and more exciting, than an empty page.

Slowly, you fill it with words. They well up and spill over, through your fingers, onto the keys, out into the world, and they float into people’s brains through their eyes, a mixture of conscious and unconscious messages, each letter and space and comma and semicolon another signal, another angle, another slight bias. The page fills up with your thoughts.

A lot of people don’t appreciate what it means to write. People see art as all sorts of things—drawing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, acting, fashion—and yet they don’t realize that everyone employs the use of art in our own language. The words we choose, the patterns we use, they weave a tapestry of the way our brain works. Using “demented” instead of “irrational,” for example—completely different connotations. Or “silent” instead of “helpless.” Two words, and completely different images in your head.

Each word draws up an image. I write “train,” and you think of a train, and what that means to you. Maybe you think of a cartoon train, or your last experience riding one. Maybe you think of your daily or weekly commute, or a person in your life who uses the train a lot, or maybe a movie, or a book you read recently. Maybe you imagine the rattle of a train car, the dusty carpet, the rows of seats, trees rushing past a window.

Writing is weaving together a series of thoughts and ideas, stringing them into a unique pattern, like beads onto a necklace. Each letter, each comma, is another flourish on the page; you can create beautiful spiraling sections of thought that spin out into the world.

What does it mean to be a writer?

It means taking your thoughts, wrapping them into a package, and placing them neatly into another person’s head.

It means using common lived experiences to describe new situations.

It means taking things people know and using them to explain things people don’t know.

It means directing people to new thoughts and ideas.

It means communicating.

It means life.

It means art.

It means beauty.

Brooke Schwartz

Professional writer, editor, and tutor; social justice advocate; Orthodox Jew; dedicated Grammar Auror