Fifteen years ago I walked into a small classroom at the University at Albany for an expository writing class. I looked around at my fellow students (no doubt mostly English majors like myself) and wondered what we would talk about week to week. I am certain of one thing: I had no idea the influence that class would have for the rest of my life.
Armed with my Strunk and White The Elements of Style (which is still floating around my house) I went in prepared to discuss grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The class was pass/fail and to pass I would have to write 40 pages during the semester. In addition to my own writing I would read and edit the writing of the others in the class.
The class was something of a literary experiment by our professor, Dr. Jeffrey Berman. The papers started out as mere response writing but as the semester progressed it became more personal. When reading some of the other papers I would sometimes find myself so immersed in the writing I would forget to edit. My own papers would be an exercise in self discovery and disclosure. Years later when my husband and I were dating long distance I sent him my papers from that class to get my back story.
The lessons in that class extended way beyond the proper use of a semi-colon. They included lessons on how make your writing believable and truthful. Lessons on getting your message across in the fewest words (something I still struggle with-ha). And lessons on writing what you feel and know.
Writing this blog for the past 4 years I've frequently reflected on that class and the lessons learned. Most of my writing on here is stream of consciousness and I'm sure an editor would have a field day going through it.
But it is written honestly.
When I wrote my post about taking a hiatus from my photography business I had an outpouring of responses - both in comments and via private email. On a call with a friend today she admitted to having cried when she read the blog post and she is not even a photographer. I was a little surprised but at the same time glad that I could touch so many with my words. Thank you Dr. Berman for giving me the tools to connect with so many of my peers.
Was there some experience in your past that you see as a turning point or a connection point for aspects of your life today or in your career? Do you write honestly on your blog as a way to connect with your customers?