Writing straight from the hip

Retro recording studio

One of the greatest pleasures I have in life is getting up before everyone else most mornings to do my ‘daily reading’. Of the eight or so books I read sections of on a regular basis, the one that gives me most pleasure is Montaigne’s Essays. So much wisdom contained both in his content and style!

This morning, I read his critique of Cicero (a recent addition to my daily reading) and Pliny the Younger. Montaigne derides their affectation, explaining that he “always writes [his] letters at the gallop, with so headlong a dash I prefer to write them by hand than to dictate them”. Given that plenty of people call Montaigne the ‘grandfather of blogging’, I wonder what he could have produced with a keyboard, website, and fingers that could type 100 words per minute?

The most useless of my letters are those which cost me most trouble: as soon as I flag, that is a sign that my heart is not in it. I prefer to begin without a plan, the first phrase leading on to the next.

It’s good to know that I compose most of my posts in a similar way to the great man. While there have been times I’ve planned things out in great detail (my thesis, for example) I gain most pleasure, and I think my readers the most benefit, from writing ‘straight from the hip’, as it were.

Image by John Hult via Unsplash