Jan 16, 2011

Practicing with columns

Communication is such an important skill in so many careers and yet it seems it is often taken for granted. Part of the reason that I do these long pseudo-essays in semi-formal op-ed style is to really force myself to practice writing. I spend a lot of extra time trying to be careful about sentence structure, word choice, and style.

In college I got a lot of practice out of necessity; many assignments required writing, and sometimes lots of it. Now that I’m in the professional world, the obligations are far fewer. Sure, I write instructions, documentation, and long emails sometimes, but not nearly as often to keep up my “strength” and most of the stuff I write day to day for work are hardly a literary exercise. Forwarding jokes, pictures, and blurbs to co-workers doesn’t count.

Doing these posts forces me to organize my thoughts and express them intelligently and, if possible, entertainingly. It’s not easy, and I don’t claim to be particularly good at it yet. I’ve only been doing this a few months now, but I hope that after a couple of years I’ll be able to see some progress. At the very least I’m hoping I’ll not lose the practice I gained in school getting a creative writing minor (as an aside to my computer science major). Better yet, I hope to improve. Only time will tell, though.

Don’t get me wrong: I am interested and passionate about the topics I discuss here, but I admit that it’s also a good way to force me to practice writing. Being able to express ideas clearly and successfully and persuasion… these could be very useful skills to have in the future.

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