Learning to write

At the start of this year, I listed improving my writing skills as one of my goals of the year. Towards that end, I resolved to write about three blog posts a week. I started on a bright note (about 4 in the first 10 days) then I hit a sudden bump. The reason was not because I ran out of things to write but because my writing was attacked. I submitted my article about the Google vs… China debacle to hacker news and rather than people discuss the merits or demerits of my article, it was my grammar and punctuation that was being discussed. It was highly embarrassing! Someone trying to come to my defence was saying that English might not be my first language. My confidence was hit hard! People who know me will testify that confidence is never a problem for me but this case is different. Such comments get to me only if what is being said. is true and I care about it.

Looking at the criticisms, I have to concede they are true.

The first was grammar: My co founder Joel, always accuses me of writing ‘Nigerian English’ (this is different form pidgin English) because most times, I  write how I speak. With Nigerians, it should not be a problem since it aim of writing and speaking is to communicate, However, with OnePage, my dealings will not be restricted to Nigerians so I must work on improving that.

The second was on flow. In the sense that I was trying to communicate too many things at the same time thereby coming out incoherent. I am used to speaking and thinking at the same time, this gives me several trails of thought. This is a great asset when solving problems or doing a bit of brain storming especially with a person who is knowledgeable about the topic in question. However, the essence of writing is to clarify thoughts and ideas and also enable communication with a variety of people at their own times. Therefore it is not an acceptable way to write to a varied audience. I must improve on that too.

Last year my main problem was unnecessary length and I believe I am working on that successfully.

So the prayer for my writing (blog) this year is for it to have wisdom of Paul Graham’s Essays, the confidence and radical thinking of the guys at 37Signals (in particular, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson) and the frequency of Seth Godin. Once a while, I hope to add the humour of Paul Carr. Don’t worry, I will not be copying anyone’s style.

I hope I have now tackled my demons *now. If you have any criticism, anything I should do, or books I should read to improve my writing, please send me a mail or make a comment, It will be deeply appreciated.

*in Nigerian English, the ‘now’ will be there.

If you liked or disliked this post, PLEASE share. Thank you.

Leave a Reply