Sunday, June 25, 2006

On Writing Better

The only way to become a better writer is to write a lot, and so that is what I am doing. I will admit I learned little about writing in high school and am determined to learn what I should have learned then, now. So far, I am at various stages of reading several books on the craft of writing: _On Writing Well_ by William Zinsser, _The Elements of Style_ by E.B. White and the _Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage_ by Muriel Harris. Of the three I have made it the farthest in on "On Writing Well", because of its conversational tone and its novel like qualities. The author, Mr. Zinsser, writes as if he were expressing himself by gesturing in the air and jotting down quick examples on the blackboard as a teacher would. He succeeds as I can see even now my writing is improving, becoming more refined.

Does any body actually read this blog regularly besides myself? Probably not. The reason I write is to become a better writer which I see is becoming a more and more valuable skill in today's dilapidated culture in which grammar and style are less important than the length and structure of a piece of writing. Expressing myself in words is something I need to be able to do not just for the sake of being a good writer but also because I need to be able to get my point across to people who have no idea what I am talking about. Later this summer I will attempt to write a piece about Open Source that focuses on the non technical computer user, because this is an area in which little writing seems to have been done, despite its importance.

This is one of the many positive effects of the blogging movement: it strengthens peoples writing abilities by making them write more. This has lead to a new generation of writers who would otherwise not even attempt to write an article for a local paper or periodical. Not only are more people writing but they are writing about more specialized topics. Many blogs are like mine in that they are just journals but more and more blogs are specializing in an area, in particular company blogs which keep customers and the public informed about products and the inner workings of a project. Other specialized blogs such as the painting-a-day blog and a homeless persons blog serve as cornerstones for different communities that otherwise would have remained separated, despite the entirety of the Internet.

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