1. Education
Richard Nordquist

George Carlin on Finding Something to Write About

By December 19, 2012

Follow me on:

"Good writing," says linguists Philip Yde and Marc Spoelders, "depends first and foremost on having something to write about."*

But for many beginning writers, that's precisely the problem. Unless they're assigned a specific topic, students often complain that they don't have anything to write about.

"Bull feathers and horse pucky!" the late comedian George Carlin would have said (or words to that effect).
As long as you have observations to make, as long as you can see things and let them register against your template, as long as you're able to take impressions and compare them with the old ones, you will always have material. People have always asked me: 'Don't you ever think you might run out of ideas? Don't you ever worry about not having anything to say anymore?' Occasionally that does flash through your mind, because it's a natural human impulse to think in terms of beginnings and endings. The truth is, I can't run out of ideas--not as long as I keep getting new information and I can keep processing it.
(George Carlin with Tony Hendra, Last Words. Simon & Schuster, 2009)
For more advice on finding a topic and coming up with something fresh to say about it, see Where Do Writers Find Their Ideas?

* "Cohesive Ties in Written Narratives: A Developmental Study With Beginning Writers." Learning, Keeping and Using Language, edited by M.A.K. Halliday, John Gibbons, and Howard Nicholas (John Benjamins, 1990)

More About Writing Topics:

Image: Last Words by George Carlin with Tony Hendra. Simon & Schuster, 2009)

Comments

December 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(1) Onion says:

Thanks, George, for the stuff.

December 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm
(2) Ken says:

Onion, got it. Always remember the difference is only perspective. Merry Christmas.

Leave a Comment


Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.