Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The best writing class (and one of the best classes I've ever had, period) I ever had was also the toughest. Advanced Composition in college. More than any other class, I have been able to apply the things I learned in that class professionally.

The most important thing I learned is simpler is better. That professor always emphasized that the most direct way of saying something is the best way to say it. As a result, phrases such as "as well as" instead of "and" drive me nuts. Naturally, all the techies around here are married to hyphens and "as well as". Cest la vie.

The other thing that class taught me was how to deal with criticism. Every paper we wrote was reviewed and discussed in class, at first anonymously, then with our names attached. What a reality check. But I can honestly say that it helped me to recognize my own writing quirks and flaws and fix them before someone else points them out.

Finally, more than anything else, I saw myself grow as a writer in that class. From my first paper to my last, there was a tremendous improvement. And the fact that the professor commented on that made it so much more significant.

And on a final note, I really liked how he called his students Ms. (or Mr.) [Groovy Last Name]. It was kind of quaint. I know it irritated a certain fellow blogger, or at least his insistence on using Ms. did.

(As an aside, I myself prefer Miss as well, but Ms. doesn't really annoy me)

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