Seeing as a Writer

Recently, I wrote a short essay centered around this one question: How might writing better help a person to see better? Or, to put it another way, which comes first: seeing as a writer, or writing? And I think it’s important to understand this for ourselves, so we too can become great writers.

            Learning to see as a writer often comes first. Through reading others’ works, people are better enabled to understand what is being presented and how they should present similar ideas in their own works, using coordinate and subordinate phrase in addition to figurative language. On the other hand, writing something out sometimes helps the person to take a step back and reason through the situation they are portraying better. In this way, both writing and reading enables people to “see” more clearly.

            Coordinate phrase are modifiers that all refer back to the main clause or idea. They establish something which Gertrude Stein called the “continuous present”. She once wrote, “Nothing changes from generation to generation except the thing seen and that makes a composition.” In other words, coordinate phrases describe some action that takes place in time without applying descriptors that are limited by time. Each part enhances the base clause without confining itself to any sequential order. Subordinate phrases contrast in that they only modify the clause or phrase directly preceding them. This requires them to follow some sort of order. Both coordinate and subordinate phrases can be used together to construct elaborate sentences. These forms, by adding new information, allow readers to better envision the main idea, provide an example of masterful writing to them, and often enable readers to begin seeing the world around them in the same detailed light.

            Figurative language helps readers to think about things in a new perspective. There are two key components of figurative language that are almost always used in literature: similes and metaphors. Similes explicitly make comparisons between two unlike things, using words such as “like”, “as”, or “as if”. In contrast, metaphors implicitly assume comparisons of unlike things. Not only do similes and metaphors add flavor to writing and engage the reader more fully, but they also reveal some bit of the author’s character. For example, in his work “Against the Day”, Thomas Pynchon relied heavily on figurative language, offering nuanced comparisons, revealing his very own thought processes. One such sentence stated, “There are stories, like maps that agree… too consistent among too many languages and histories to be only wishful thinking…. It is always a hidden place, the way into it is not obvious, the geography is as much spiritual as physical.” Likening stories to maps, people reading this are given new insights into common tales and what Pynchon wished to believe of them. In the end, figurative language not only encourages people to think of everyday things differently but also to incorporate that sort of personal character and imagery into their own writing.

            When writing something, people can escape their own minds and enter into a third person view on things. This view is then less attached to personal preferences or emotions than it would be when still stirring in someone’s mind. In a sense, this helps aspiring writers to see more clearly. They can portray a particular event or character in such a way that makes sense. Further, revision is a key part of learning how to see as a writer. Writing is not a one and done thing. There are always first drafts, and often many more in between, then revisions, and eventually, the final copy. The reason being that writing first, and then looking it over, allows people to see where they made errors in both their reasoning and grammar, and it permits them to spot where they could improve, by adding such techniques as modifying phrases and figurative language. But writers would not know how to revise properly without reading others’ works first. The two go hand in hand.

            In conclusion, seeing as a writer and writing are intertwined. By observing others’ works, a person can learn how to write well, using coordinate and subordinate phrases along with figurative language. They apprehend how to regard the world as a writer and how to incorporate that into their own compositions. In addition, writing first enables authors not only to make revisions, but also to analyze the circumstances and stories they create, understanding them better on a personal level.


Published by aspiringwriter111

Heyyyyy, random person reading my bio! There's a TON to know about me, but I think I'll keep it pretty simple. Basically, I'm an aspiring writer who somehow manages to make time in her already hectic life for creating new, fantastical worlds on a daily basis. I love dreaming up romances, adventures, and crazy new species of animals to include in my books. Fights with dragons, damsels in distress, and pirates are right up my alley, but I also enjoy writing of the sometimes torturous struggles of everyday life, like... doing chores!! *sigh* XD And remember: "Everything you can imagine is real." -Picasso

One thought on “Seeing as a Writer

  1. Right! There’s a big difference between “Titus” and “Titus the author”, especially when we think differently when we’re writing. In that way, it’s kind of like an alter ego. Maybe that’s why authors invented pseudonyms…huh…


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