Mike’s Dump

February 19, 2006

The more you do it, the better you’ll get

Filed under: Home,Links — mikesdump @ 2:02 pm

I came across this post
via Coding Horror today. The post
lists off ten common sense rules for writing better. My blog entries
have been a little sparse lately but I still enjoy writing when I have
the time so any help I can get to become a better writer is welcome.
The two rules I believe are the most valuable are:

0. Speak what you write: This is rule zero because all other rules
follow on this. Basically: If what you’re writing is hard to speak,
what makes you think it’s going to be easy to read? It won’t be. So
speak out loud what you write. If you can’t speak it naturally, rewrite
it. Simple.

This is probably the number one reason it takes me a long time to write
anything. I’ll read what I have written over and over. I’ll remove
sentences that don’t fit or expand on ideas when I have no clue what I
am trying to say (which happens often). The best way to catch these
types of problems is to read what you have written aloud.

7. Try to write well every single time you write: I have friends who I
know can write well who send me the most awful e-mail and IMs because
they figure it doesn’t matter how many rules of grammar and spelling
they stomp on because it’s just e-mail and IM. But if you actually want
to be a better writer, you have to be a better writer every time you
write. It won’t kill you to write a complete sentence in IM or e-mail,
you know. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it until it will
actually be more difficult to write poorly in e-mail and IM than not
(mobile text messaging I understand has more limitations. But I tend to
look at text messaging as the 21st Century equivalent of semaphore,
which is to say, specialized communication for specialized goals).

There really is no excuse for writing poorly in one’s blog. At least
with IMs and e-mail your terrifying disembowelment of the language is
limited to one observer. But in your blog, you’ll look stupid for the
whole world to see, and it will be archived for as long as humanity
remembers how to produce electricity. Maybe you don’t think anyone who
reads your blog will care. But I read your blog — yes indeed I do —
and I care. Madly. Truly. Deeply.

Depending on the situation I have used email as an opportunity to work
on improving my writing. This isn’t the right time to write a
full-length novel but it is prefect time to clearly express an idea,
provide instruction or explain an issue I’m having. Before you get your
panties in a knot, yes emails should be short and to the point but just
because it is an email shouldn’t stop anyone from making sure what is
being said is clear. Writing, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.


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