A Seventh-day Adventist Organization


By Molly Dougherty, The Writing Center -  Okay, okay, since you asked so nicely, I will share with you my Philosophy of Writing (at least as it pertains to academic / business writing). Some of the things that I hear from students — ALL THE TIME, actually — are versions of the following: 1) “I’m such a terrible writer, I don’t know how  you could help me; 2) I’m not talented in that way, it doesn’t come easily to me.”  Now, to me this is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know which of the wrongnesses I want to address first.  But just to keep things moving along, let’s go with 2) — the No Talent excuse. You may well be right. Maybe you don’t have writing “talent” per se. I happen to think we’re not always the best judge of our own gifts, but for the sake of argument let’s stipulate that you are not F. Scott Fitzgerald or David Grann (don’t be lazy, look him up) or Barbara Kingsolver or any of your favorite authors. That’s OK. You don’t need to be. You don’t need to be some lyrical genius, spinning webs of words that make the reader weep with joy, winning awards and accolades from across the globe.  What you do need is to be able to write logically, clearly and concisely in your field,with the goal of informing your reader with a minimum of fuss. And for that you don’t need to be Hemingway. My favorite metaphor for “talented” writers vs everyone else is the chef / home cook.  The home cook doesn’t need to be the next culinary rock star, mincing truffles and wowing celebs at their super trend-ola restaurant in Manhattan. The home cook needs to get dinner on the table for their family every night, needs to provide them with well-prepared, nourishing food that doesn’t send them to the emergency room.  So how do you do that?  You learn. It’s a skill, not a mystical birthright.  You learn it the same way you learned to tie your shoes or ride a bike: practice, patience, and more practice.  And writing is the same.  Except it takes a lot more practice.  And reading.  And rewriting.  Then rewriting some more.  And maybe some snacks. But it IS do-able. Learn-able. And though it’s hard work, it pays off BIG TIME. Knowing how to write can make you invaluable to your employer, further your career, and provide you with a not-small feeling of accomplishment and personal fulfillment. People who know how to write have doors opened to them not even dreamed of by those who don’t. Now it’s up to you to decide if writing is a tool you’d like to have in your belt. If you decide it is, then visit this blog regularly and we’ll work out some strategies together. End of lecture. [fblike][tweet][pinit][gplus]

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