My daughter Robin (right) will have her Associates Degree in a few months and has been accepted to both her first-choice schools for the B.A., one in Texas and one in Washington State.
She's leaving home, bye-bye.
It's a bittersweet moment and a long time coming. She's 21. She has looked down the barrel of both ADD and dyslexia, and faced down both. She loves reading, even if her decoding is slow.
I have seen her writing and it can be better than mine, because her process is internal. She writes after she has everything in her. My process is external. I write as though I'm talking, and nearly as quickly.
There are advantages to both methods. Internal writing is often deeper, more heartfelt, and the first draft may be more complete. External writing is what journalists do, and it's what I've been since I was old enough to want to be anything.
The writers we remember are internal writers. Those we read most days are external. That's the way it is.
But back to her. Some advice follows:
Write every day.
Write what you think, what you feel, what you do, what you know, what you don't know.
Write right. Or write wrong.
Write to right wrongs.
Write to yourself.
Write to me.
(And your mother.)
Write because it helps you make sense of the world.
Write because it feels good.
Write out of habit.
Write about your worries, to make them go away.
Write about the world, because writing can change it.
Write because writing is proof you're alive.
Write even if you don't like what you write. Ask why, then write some more.
Write because you're a good writer.
Write so you will have something to read. Write about what you read.
Write after you read. Read a lot.
Write what you want to share with the world. Make it your gift to the world.
Write what you would share with no one. Your gift to yourself.
Write and pass the love of writing on to your children.
Write about their grandfather, who loved writing and good writers.
Write well. Even when it doesn't read so well.
Write and then read it back to yourself.
Write and send it to me.
Write and tell the world what you know, what you believe, what you feel
Write what we need to hear.
Write even when we don't want to hear it or read it.
Dana Blankenhorn has been a financial journalist since 1978, and has covered the Internet since 1985. He started the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to debut with a magazine, in 1994. He is currently writing for InvestorPlace and lives in Atlanta, GA.
He's a graduate of Rice University (1977) and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism (MSJ 1978).