So the typical writer today ends up with a pen and paper and a very narrow range of expressions: nothing beyond what can be stated with short sentences and short words and short, crisp thoughts. This is the ethos of the contemporary writing seminar, or most communication classes, even though any template that promises to induce good prose will also shove away any potential for expansive or artful prose—it is the realm of instructions, manuals, blueprints, and checklists. Where all sentences are trapped between guardrails. Where the purpose of writing instruction is to prevent errors. Where the writer begins every sentence with nothing more than thoughts of what to avoid.
Good writing isn’t static. Nor is it planned with precision. A sentence that vibrates just right is, instead, taking you along for a journey: these are the moments when you have temporary access to a writer’s mind. Good writing reveals all the muck, contradictions, and back-steps of actual thought