Thomas Russell Wingate
27 May 1998

[Personal correspondence replying to an outstanding writer not sure of his worth.]

I am writing to caution you against writers’ organizations and conferences. These will only waste your time. What should you be doing with your time? Thinking and reading. Do those often enough, and the writing will take care of itself.

I hold several professional opinions you are not likely to meet elsewhere.

(1) There is no such thing as “creative writing.”
(2) There is such a thing as clear writing.
(3) Clear writing derives from clear thinking.
(4) Clear thinking can be learned* and taught.
(5) There is such a thing as “creative thinking.” This can be learned but cannot be taught.
(6) Clear thinking can be used to explain-and-reorder creative thinking.
(7) Clear writing can be used to communicate reordered creative thinking, one’s own or another’s.
(8) Clear writing is a joy to read.

*Formal logic and symbolic logic should be studied, perhaps at university level. If you do not have a taste for this, develop one anyway.

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