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On Writing

To take from Max Alvarez, writing is labor.

I’ve figured that I cannot slack off now if improvement and clarity are my goals.

Since starting a new job, my first “real” post-college gig, I’ve finally experienced the toil of commute, monotony, and an unchanging schedule in the prototypical office setting. A cubical in a such a setting could elicit the undercurrent of sensory deprivation, so I’ve tried to make mine charming. I’m at work. It’s far better than most things.

I need to go. Like everyone does. And in the cataclysmic wake of COVID-19, which only further illuminates the failures of our political leadership, I feel eternally relieved to have been so lucky (after a two-month bout with unemployment and receiving no income). This also explains the infrequent posts, but this is a blog so…you know how that goes. Maybe if the small team we have running the operations breathlessly cover how the Iraq War was okay, we will score more remunerative writing appointments in D.C somewhere, and not have to write for free. We figure if Tucker Carlson or Yggy can get paid for their strictly shitty takes, why are we doing it for free.

It’s forced me to reflect on some of the things I’ve been working on recently, more so for my own dexterity and sharpness concerning the clarity and efficiency of writing. In researching the many ways I could take steps to improve, and in avoiding the one thing to sharpen my own writing skills (which is actually writing), two important bastions of information have made themselves known to me. One is “Deryer’s English.” A self-proclaimed guide (but not “the” guide”) to clarity and clear prose. A useful gem, no doubt. This small companion permits the reader to take a deep breath and uncover every stupid and made non-rule ever instantiated in a classroom with a deeply formal education on grammar and effective writing. It’s not only refreshing, but consistent with more heterodox writing advice I’ve heard in the classroom. It almost pains me to say that some of the best things I’ve ever heard on writing come from UChicago, a school that makes headlines in my Twittersphere for their notoriously retrograde and racist climate concerning academic economics. The opposite may be true of their writing program, which is not so popular (but for a good reason). Dreyer’s English is a delightful and mandatory read for those looking to basically radicalize their writing. That is, to be curious and open enough to unlearn most of the calcified writing standards we’ve just all accepted as the only way to compose a document. It thoughtfully explains grammar usage and rules as well as guide the reader to a path of utterly clear prose. It will play its role in revolutionizing the way you think about taking proper care of your own writing. So that’s mainly what I’ve been reflecting on, in addition to videos, talks, and other lectures. Since starting my routine job duties, I’ve promised myself to carve out time each day to actually produce something that gets closer to what I’d want to read myself.

So moving on, tomorrow will afford me the opportunity to elaborate on the second bit of material I’ve found useful to reference, and why I think it can be a good/bad tool.

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