We found this while cruising though Bloglines last night. If you are writing anything at all, odds are you’ll improve your skills by spending some time at the Poynter Institute. So without delay, here is a list of a whopping 50 articles that we should all read (yes, I said we because my writing tends to lack in a few dozen areas!)
This is one of the few useful posts I have found on digg. I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I hated English when I was in high school. I was planning to major in engineering at college and was dreading college English. The quicker I got out of the English dungeon, the better it was for me. When I met with my college advisor, he said he would give me two quarters of advance placement in English based on verbal score on my SAT. I was shocked. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. Then he said I should take Honors English. I was dumbfounded! I still do not know what I was thinking at the time. I took the credits and signed up for Honors English. Even now this moment of foolishness brings a smile to my face. My parents were concerned. They knew English was not one of my strengths and my studying skills left a lot to be desired.
Over that summer I tried to make up for every mistake I had made in English classes. That was a silly plan! For good reasons I was panicky about the impending Honors English class. Gradually my preconceptions about studying English faded away. My curiosity about “good” literature led me to read several classics. Maybe if I read a few of the classics it would help me in the class. These books were so much easier to read when it was I who wanted to read them. However, the biggest impact on my writing style occurred when I bought a copy of “Elements of Style”. I let this small book guide me toward the path of competent writing. I took its preachings about writing to heart. I had this vision that all of my fellow students in the class were already so much better than me. They were “real” Honors students. That Fall I slaved over every word and sentence in my Honors English class. I rewrote some pieces so many times I thought I was going to go crazy. I did not want the professor to figure out that I was a fraud. In my mind I was a mediocre English student who didn’t deserve the advance placement or to be in a Honors English class. I guess I fooled him. He gave me an A- and I never took another English class. Over the years I wondered about where my talents really lie but my appreciation of good writing was forever changed that year. It is with fondness I will read the tips from the Poynter Institute. I will remember the summer I panicked and the gift that I found. My appreciation of good writing has stayed with me.