When did learning how to write and become a better writer become a bad thing? Obviously, I have a bias towards learning how to write and becoming a better writer, I am in college getting a degree in Profession-Technical Communication, which translates into writing. I also, as you may have noticed write on multiple blogs and in other formats. I have always thought I was a good writer, then I went to college and learned that I was an okay writer, but through learning I have become a better writer and will continue to get better because I am learning what I thought I knew and what I didn’t know. Thus, I admit I have a bias about this subject.
I also have a gripe. I see, read, and edit material from writers that tells me that they know the basics or some of the basics, but they have not learned the craft of writing. Nor do they think they should learn about the craft of writing. This bugs me. There seems to be this belief that because a person writes that they are a writer. That is similar to me saying I work on my car, I must be a mechanic or I cook at home, I must be a chef or I give myself aspirin at home, I must be pharmacist. All of those examples are absurd and if someone were to claim those things someone (I hope) would point out the erroneous nature of their claims–they do not have the training or education to claim to be those things. The same thing applies to writing.
I am not saying formal education. Honestly, much of what I have learned I could have learned on my own, by reading a lot of books and putting forth the effort. That is an extremely long path to take, turns out learning from someone else is easier. Who knew? Those skills I could not learn on my own, are what separates me from people without the education and formal training. Just as they do with any career.
Writing is more than putting words to screen or paper. Writing is more than expressing yourself with words. Writing is a more than what most people seem to think writing is. I will be the first to say, I dislike editing. I do not mean I dislike editing as a function, concept or process of writing. I mean I, Nate, dislike the act of editing a work, mine or someone else, it is not a strong skill of mine. (I have gotten much better than when I started college) I know this, I find other people who have those skills and work with them. Editing is IMPORTANT. Further, editing is not spelling and punctuation. Editing is organization. Editing is flow. Editing is voice. Editing clarity. Editing is as important as writing itself. Alas, editing cannot happen without writing, thus in the order of things editing falls second and for way too many writers editing is not even a concept. One and done writing DOES NOT exist! Good writers know this.
One of the elements of editing I do enjoy and this may sound odd, is getting back my writing with edit marks. I keep track of what is noted by the editor and if I agree, sometimes I do not, I keep an eye out for that mistake in future works. Editing keeps me a better writer. Editing is not something I take for granted.
So here I am at the end of my rant, and I have not come close to everything writing is and should be and I still do not know when learning about writing and becoming a better writer became a bad thing, but for the sake of the language, for the sake of writers, for the sake of readers this had better change–unless you enjoy reading garbage. I know I don’t.