Monday, April 25, 2005

Striving for Improvement.


It has been said by enough people of different relationships to myself that my writing is good. Some of these people are relatives but some too are complete strangers. I am pretty comfortable in believing the praise to be honest.

I am not trying to pump myself up here but it is good to hear it. Still, there are areas I know where I can improve my writing. I had a hard time with English in HS not because I found it difficult but because I bought into the notion that "it's completely obvious what I am writing!" Well of course it was! The problem was I would not or could not remove myself from myself and read my writing from another's perspective. My thoughts are obvious to myself so I was able to write my thoughts down in my own way and still completely understand what was being written.

So I was a slacker in HS English and in the little bit of College writing I had. I did pretty good in my math and science classes. How did I get to this situation then that I write a fair amount every day?

Passion for being an active participant in my community, whether that community be the local, state , national, or international! I started off by writing and debating on the Usenet (a collection of "chat-rooms" each newsgroup being devoted to a given topic. See this) It is called practice. I also read quite a bit not newspapers but mostly magazines and books. After awhile this reading the habits of good writing start to soak in.

None the less I know my writing can stand improvement. As I said I was less than an enthusiastic participant in my HS English classes and therefore my use of punctuation is spotty and perhaps wrong when it does happen. The problem here is incorrect punctuation does not flag itself like saying "2 + 2 = 22" (we are using the normal addition tables here) or a missspeelll, but incorrect punctuation can subtly change the meaning the writer intends.

An example of this would be a saying from President George HW Bush.

No new taxes!

What does that mean? It means he will not create any new taxes (raise). But this is what he should have said:

No, new taxes!

meaning he is going to bring new taxes. Now of course, we know he meant to pledge to not raise our taxes, but the history of this shows otherwise.

A little pocket grammar I bought has many examples of this sort of thing. The key to writing IMO is being able to shield your reading mind from writing mind.