How blogging helps my professional career

My boss’ boss (I think we’re just two levels of management removed now) spent half the day composing a long e-mail message containing a large number of questions. He sent it to my boss, who forwarded it to us. I read the 10 or so questions that pertain to me.

Then I took a walk. Walking to the bathroom and using the facilities always seems like a good idea before I start writing.

Then I sat down at the keyboard and typed up my answers. I was thoughtful and thorough, but I didn’t waste any time. I think it took me about 20 minutes to send the response.

Forty minutes later, my boss called my name. “Dave! Have you seen the e-mail–@%^& you type fast!”

And one of my other coworkers cut in, saying my response read pretty well too. “The difference between a stinker and a rose can be the answer to just a couple of questions,” he read aloud.

It’s not Hemingway and it certainly isn’t Longfellow, but it gets the point across in a way the audience will understand and without being vulgar enough for HR to take notice.

Having done six months covering criminal justice in mid-Missouri helped. I used to have to be able to write 300-600 words in 60 minutes, sometimes about something I’d never heard of until that morning.

But staying in practice helped more. I write every day. I don’t always write well, and what I write may not be worthwhile–I actually throw away a fair bit of what I write–but it’s practice.

So when duty calls at work, I can rise to the occasion when needed.

5 thoughts on “How blogging helps my professional career

  • May 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm
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    Excellent advice. I helped an online friend with his college entrance exams a few months ago and told him practice, practice, practice was the only way to get his writing up to acceptable univeristy levels. As it so happens, I got an email from him this morning in which he churned out 350 words or so and it sounded pretty darned good even though English is not his native tongue! Far cry from 9 months ago.

    Out of curiosity, do you write everything out and then go back and correct, or do you tend to correct as you go along? Of course one does a run-through when finished, but do you correct every little mistake along the way, or save it for an editing pass?

  • May 11, 2012 at 8:23 pm
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    I think corrections is a good topic for a post. In my case, it’s a definite “it depends.” If I’m in a groove and writing a hundred words a minute, I won’t stop for an earthquake. If I’m writing at a slow, controlled, more normal pace, then sure, I may stop.

    I’m a good enough typist that I don’t make a lot of typos, and when I do that or use the wrong homonym (think their/there/they’re), it doesn’t feel right. I’ll stop and fix stuff like that right away.

    I’ve been writing more than 3 decades now (I started very young), so I’ve learned to trust myself after all those years. If I think it’s going to take less time to fix it right away, I fix it. If it seems more productive to keep going and come back later to fix, I put it off.

  • May 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm
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    >>If it seems more productive to keep going and come back later to fix, I put it off.<<

    LOL, seems to me you only learn that after 3 decades!

    I've heard a lot of people say that the best class they took in high school was the touch-typing course. Would you agree?

  • May 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm
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    I think I’d make a whole lot of people mad at me if I said typing was the best class I took, but it’s a skill I use literally all the time. I’d be in a world of hurt without it–my hand can’t keep up with my mind when writing with a pen, but with a good keyboard, my hands usually keep pace pretty well. Which is one reason I’m picky about keyboards.

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