Light Touch
We all remember the book or movie scene where the master applies minimal effort to accomplish an arduous task. They make it seem so easy, and the student spends hours attempting to replicate the same technique. Often, the student messes things up with comedic consequences.
Real life also contains masters. I remember learning arithmetic and watching my teacher add three-digit numbers in her head. 100+100 = 200? Wow! Pure magic! It took months of practice to accomplish such amazing feats of mathematical wizardry.
Who is this master, and what makes them so great? This person spent years mastering their craft, takes great pride in their creation, and is not too keen on immediately sharing their knowledge. We look up to these people, try to understand their wisdom, and replicate their superior techniques.
We can sum the traits of a master up in two words: light touch. Only they know precisely where to apply effort and what method to use. For example, the skilled artist only paints TWO trees in the background. This is a forest! Why not 50 trees? No, only two are required, and the result looks stunning, bold, and thoughtful. In a word, their painting is perfect.
The skilled race car driver rapidly maneuvers their car around the track, and their wheels do not slide one inch from the intended path. If a passenger were present, they would see the driver applying slight steering, brake, gear, and throttle changes. Yet, the speed and control are astounding. The terrified passenger does not know how the driver can operate the car with such ease.
Seasoned writers also have this zen-like ability, and I now have enough confidence to offer tidbits of wisdom. Want some proof? I could fill this blog up with amazing quotes from astounding writers. Perhaps I could include my favorite paragraph? Actually, that would not make my point. Alright, truth. I do not feel my writing is a “perfect example of superior technique.” Bummer.
Here is what I can show you! Umm, why the exclamation point? That punctuation did not seem necessary, but it was grammatically correct and perhaps appropriate. Yet, we all see that this exclamation point was unnecessary. Its presence looks out of place and detracts from an “excellent read.”
Writers have many tools at their disposal to convey their thoughts. “They can use quotes and exclamation points!” Plus, there are commas to break up sentences. Even the semi-colon; yes, it can connect thoughts like glue. Why, even the humble colon can: connect concepts, break down thoughts, and separate ideas for easy understanding. Even CAPITOL LETTERS can STRONGLY EMPHASIZE our words.
Clearly, I am attempting to point out that “quotes” and other sentence aids are not always appropriate, even if they are technically correct. A talented writer will know exactly when to use extra punctuation and, more importantly, when not to. As an example, in the above description, I could have talked about {brackets} & other |punctuation|, but I chose not to. I felt I had made my point, and taking a deep dive into sentence mechanics would detract from this blog’s intent.
A stilled wordsmith should treat each sentence like a perfect gem. It is polished, yet it fits in perfectly with the other story jewelry. This light touch applies the ideal amount of punctuation and leaves the reader satisfied they know the sentence meanings. The ending of this blog is a perfect example. I could have rambled on, but…

You’re the best -Bill
October 26, 2022
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