Writing Skills Education is my forum and public space for sharing my thoughts and insights on writing. Collected from years of experience, exposure, and listening to writers in a variety of academic, literary, journalistic, scientific, professional, and marketing contexts, I realized I have more than one or two things to say about writing and writing skills. So maybe I should organize my thoughts and write them down in a more structured way. In some sense, I’ve done this already. After years of teaching intro-level college writing classes, I have the lesson plans and the notes and the raw volume of student writing. It’s all there, as it were. The problem is the thoughts and insights are in a form that’s so tedious and so much like school, that they bore even me. This is my attempt to pull out the nuggets. This is my attempt to resurrect the best parts of the knowledge I’ve gained along the way, but this time, present it in a more readily digestible form.
I almost named this blog, Learn Writing Skills, as a kind of deliberate counterweight to teachwritingskills.com. You definitely can teach writing, but it’s a tricky thing. Though I did it for several years, including more than one statement about my philosophy of teaching, I still don’t think I could distill any essence or philosophy to teaching writing. You can also definitely learn to write without a teacher. In fact, studies have shown that all you have to do to get better at writing is to write. To write is to learn to write. Now, I suppose that’s true, in part or in whole, for a lot of things, but there’s something extra slippery when it comes to writing. After spending several years teaching writing skills and a few decades now toiling in the impure medium that is language, I’ve come to firmly describe writing as both an art and a science. Sure, it’s fun and self-satisfying to think about how, for a while now, software programs have been whooping the best human players at such revered games as chess, yet continue to struggle to write even general information articles that consistently pass the Turing Test. Sure, words soak up nuances of meaning that are difficult if not impossible to capture in 1s and 0s.
Enough conjecture and equivocation, what I do wholeheartedly believe is that writing is a set of skills. Often, ideally, they are used in concert with each other to render an artful moment, but there are also individual skills that can be identified and improved upon with training and practice. Welcome to my blog. Writing Skills Education.