Socratic Dialogue, How to Write/Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well: We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.


“AAAAAAAAAh!!!!! This is my day job!”

“What is?”

“I’m a teacher.”

“What do you teach?”

“English, writing, THIS!”

“So dude, you probably don’t want to write this post.”

“No. I feel just like my students do when their teacher — possibly me — gives them a topic they don’t want to write about.”

“Should be easy for you since you teach it. You could write about something else you know.”

“I suppose but after teaching more than half my life, I have serious doubts about teaching. I tend to think, now, that no one teaches anyone anything. People desire to learn something and a teacher happens to be there.”

“Seriously? You don’t think you’ve ever taught anyone anything?”

“No, I have, but not until they were ready to learn.”

“How Yodaesque or that Japanese guy in Karate Kid.”

“Smartass R U.”

“So are you going to write this or not?”

“I am.”

“What are you going to teach?”

“How to write. Oh, you know what’s funny? One of my students this past week when I asked if anyone liked writing said, ‘No. I never got that. I print’.”


“OK, so how to write.”


“First, have a reason. If you don’t have a reason to write you should do something else.”

“That is so.”

“Second, write.”


“Well, there’s stuff you can do. Some of my colleagues who teach writing have all this honed down to a formula, often a rather joyless formula, but it works.”

“Like what?”

“I’m not teaching about teaching writing here. I’m teaching writing.”

“Fair enough.”

“See now that’s weird. How fair is ‘fair enough’? And can we ever be excessively fair? I mean, I know we can be UN-fair which is insufficiently fair, but TOO fair?”

“You’re evading.”

“Fair enough. Ok, so you have something to write and you write it. Most people have a reader in mind when they write something. Sometimes is themselves, sometimes it’s, huh, not. So you want to read this thing to see how it will come across to the person or people you have in mind as readers. You want to ask yourself the question, ‘How’s this going to work? Will I get the results I want?’ Since you’re writing for a reason, you must have some result in mind. Dude, you need to say something here or this will be a TRUE Socratic dialogue.”


“Thanks. Real helpful. If the thing you’ve written WON’T work for one reason or another — like your grammar is not what it should be or your argument isn’t logical or you’ve written an alienating, alliterative angry rant you must rewrite it. This is where most people say, ‘O fuck it!’ and go on about their normal lives.”

“That is so.”

“Stop with the Glacon bullshit, O man in Slayer T-shirt.”

“I hate the way you constantly criticize my fashion choices. Stick to the topic.”

“Real writers don’t stop there. I guess that’s the key to writing. You see? I can’t teach that.”

“Lesson great given me you have.”

3 thoughts on “Socratic Dialogue, How to Write/Daily Prompt

  1. “Most people have a reader in mind when they’re writing. Sometimes it’s themselves…”
    I like this! It expalins why there are so many blogs around and why keeping a diary will never die. Thanks!

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