Learning how to write



I want to write better so that I can learn and share even more. I outsourced editing so that I could get an idea of what “better” looked like. The first editor couldn’t think of how to significantly improve what I sent her. Maybe I’ve hit the “good enough” gap. But improvement isn’t just about polishing something until it shines.

I can write more. If my instincts are good, then I’ll get better the more I write.

I can learn more. The more I experience, the more I can share.

I can draw more, so I can make stories even richer.

Looking forward to sharing the adventure!

  • I’ve felt the same need to learn to write better, so I’ve started reading the great English essayists. Here’s a good introduction to them: http://books.google.com/books?id=-ipIAAAAIAAJ&

    That book was published in 1916 – I’d add George Orwell to the list: http://www.amazon.com/Essays-Everymans-Library-Classics-Contemporary/dp/0375415033

  • That’s a great idea, and one of the reasons why I love devouring books from the library. =) Every so often, I come across paragraphs that hang just right and words that flow together.

    I remember reading about someone who was working on his communication skills by rewriting great speeches and essays from memory, again and again, until he got it just right. It gave him a sense of how the author must have thought.

  • Paul

    Sacha for most writing just follow your own rules for presentations.
    1) Focus on the purpose
    2) Involve people (via personal stories)
    3) Shorter is better than longer
    4) Start strong and end stronger

    Notice above I said most, if you are working on a contract each word has a specific legal meaning and all the above rules go out the window.

  • Paul: I guess there are no shortcuts that awesome editors can offer me, eh? <laugh> It looks like from here on up, there’s nothing but the long, hard slog as I learn more about life and develop my voice. But it’ll be fun!

  • Raymond Zeitler

    I agree with your editor. Your writing needs no improvement! I base that on the content of your blog, and your contributions to the Planner discussion list. In fact I enjoy reading what you write, and I look forward to reading the Emacs book that you’ve spread rumors about. :)

    While I’m not an editor by profession, I have edited newsletters and research papers, and I scored in the 80th percentile on the GRE back in the early 90’s without bothering to study.

  • The great thing about writing is it helps clarify your ideas. Funny how you start with a few words and end up with 500 in an hour.

  • Raymond: And we’ve been learning from each other for a long time, so your words mean a lot.

    I think there’s always room for growth. In the countless books I read, some books captivate me and some books bore. I’ve read books with great content and terrible style, good style but unexceptional content, books with boring style and no unique content, and books that went straight to my wishlist for reference and inspiration. =)

    There’s no shortcut to developing content, although good communication skills are surprisingly useful for being able to recognize and name what’s going on.

    The writing of Wicked Cool Emacs is now safely in the hands of Ian Eure, as I found myself distracted by Drupal. Now that I spend less time hacking Drupal and more time tweaking Emacs, maybe it’s time to ramp up my blogging about it again… =)

    Greg: Indeed! And it’s funny how you start by sharing class notes and end up, several years later, sharing your dreams… <grin>