Progress

Dear J—

I’m riding backwards today; there’s a thousand reasons not to but there’s extra people on the train and what else are you going to do? I’m hoping that it’s not going to leave me dizzy but that’s the price I have to pay for getting on later than others. So it goes. I can’t help but think that I’m going backwards, not just physically though. There’s a few report sections that I’m responsible for and I’ve been struggling with those, and there’s a thousand other things we’re responsible for, and … I should really stop cold turkey a lot of the bad habits I’ve developed over the past couple of years.

The truth is that I end up wasting a lot of time reading what other poeple write and undoubtedly that means internalizing their style and regurgitating it back onto the page in a sort of bastardized amalgam of words. What do I really know about x, or y  or z? Nothing, other than what I’ve read about it and I bet that if you went back and read something that I wrote (ten? fifteen? twenty?) years ago you’d be able to ask me what I was reading at the time and see that reflected on the page. 

I write at work in a sort of clinical, detached style which lends itself to all kinds of excitement regarding nothing at all, of course; you end up going passive-voice a lot in business and having to reteach yourself the active isn’t always the easiest thing, which is why editing Wikipedia and making illustrations is important: you get some practice, and you get … uh, more practice, since a lot of editors are content to tweak your grammar without boldly rewriting everything you do.

Mike

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