Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sentence Fluency: the Flow of Consciousness

Learn to write by reading. This is good advice, but if we go back in time--way, way back--the whole process of reading and writing began with . . . a writer!

Some would say this first Writer was the Creator, the primal force of existence: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

That Primal Force didn't have trouble saying anything--speech became creation. In the same way, the writer is also a creator, but first the writer has to have something to say. Words have to flow. This flowing, in the field of education, is labeled the higher order thinking skill called fluency: many and diverse ideas. Each idea is a flowing of consciousness; each flowing is unique.

If sentences are written with fluency, they invite being read aloud: they have an easy flow or rhythm. Sentences vary in structure and length in a way that supports the meaning of what is being written. Transitions between ideas are effective and creative. Depending on the subject and purpose of the writing, sentence fragments or non-standard grammar may be used to create a particular effect. Dialogue, if used, is natural and believable.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge stated in his Biographia Literaria (Chapter xiv), speaking within the context of poetry and of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth, that poetry ideally should flow in "a more than usual state of emotion, with more than usual order; judgement ever awake and steady self-possession, with enthusiasm and feeling profound or vehement; and while it blends and harmonizes the natural and the artificial, still subordinates art to nature; the manner to the matter . . ."

All of this cannot be achieved by following a formula. This stuff comes from within, from the wholeness of the creative vision.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, stated the relationship between literature and writer in the following manner: "[Literature's] essential force lies in the purity of the writer, in the purity of the consciousness of the writer, who is able to bring [the] ocean in a drop, the ocean seen in a drop, that microscopic vision, that microscopic appreciation which naturally comprehends the totality on any surface value of a thing" (16, The Flow of Consciousness).

How can one improve sentence variety and creativity?

We must enrich our creativity. Expand our consciousness. For me, I do this with the Transcendental Meditation technique, practicing TM twice a day for 15-20 minutes, and then getting on with my writing. TM is a preparation for activity.
  • Now that the first Writer has written the Word, read lots of other words. Learn through example. 
  • Be self-referential. Put writing aside and then come back to it at a later date. Consider the "reader over your shoulder," your audience, as you read your writing again.
  • Be a part of a writing community. The perspective of a trusted friend (especially a writing friend) is a valuable asset.
  • Consider your purpose for writing. A simple shout of "Fire!" is appropriate if the blaze is roaring.
All of us, writers or not, are creators with every observation, thought, and action we take. The quality of our writing is dependent upon the comprehensiveness of our consciousness. Writing is cosmic. Let's make the universe we create worthy of our Creator.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


  1. excelente tu blogg, me gusto mucho muĂ­ interesante, te agradezco mucho tus pensamientos, excelente te felicito.

    1. Muchas gracias, Juan. Leo un poco de su blog.