A couple of years back, I taught a class on writing well.
My students were super smart engineers, who happened to write poorly. The aim wasn’t to turn them into brilliant storytellers, but rather, to ensure that they could communicate their ideas clearly. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re the most brilliant scientist to ever live. If you can’t impart your ideas with the written word, your reach will be limited to the number of people you can personally talk to and your ideas will die with you.
I’ve been thinking about that class a lot lately. I enjoyed teaching it, but more than that, I found a deep satisfaction in turning poor writers into capable ones. If I managed to teach one person that quotation marks should never be used for emphasis, I will have left this world a little better than I found it. Continue Reading →