When I was a school student, I would wonder at the number of books in the library. Why do people write so many things? Why write so many texts on a single topic? These questions bothered me. Also, the number of books in the fiction section were higher than subject-related books. I didn’t have much interest in fiction, so took to reading only selected technical books. I also made up my mind that I will not bug anyone with my writing.
I remember my uncle insisting that we write him a letter after our summer vacations in our native village. It helped us (brothers, cousins, me) capture the fun times we spent together. But as time went by, we lost that practice of writing.
Then at school, the monotony of letter writing discouraged me from writing anything unconnected to my exams. Today, I read emails written by the new generation, applying for a job or requesting for a meeting. This makes me deeply saddened and disappointed. I attribute this to a big flaw in the schooling system – moving towards multiple choice questions as the norm.
Technical writing v/s general writing
During my PhD days my thesis supervisor insisted that we read our results 11 times before presenting to him for review. Though it sounded ad-hoc then, I now realise the importance of those reviews. They did wonders to clarity of thought.
It is only after the activation of NumberNagar® blog that I have taken to writing. Now, I know that the way I organise my thoughts has been refined. During my research days I have written scientific research papers that were published in national and international journals. On account of this, I was under the impression that I can write. But that impression didn’t last long when I started writing articles for the general public.
A scientific publication requires technical know-how and the articles are reviewed by peers in the same domain of expertise. Therefore, most of what we write is usually understood within the purview of the subject. When writing for the general public, I have learnt a lot about the clarity needed to write something meaningful.
Learning on the go
Initially, most of my writing would go over the heads of the reader. I would find it difficult to get my point through. Consistent practice has helped me gain more clarity on the concepts I present. It has helped me build a vocabulary that makes presentation simple for the audience to enjoy. Also, it has shown me the gap in my understanding of the situation. Many times, I used a lot of jargon that made me feel happy about the word play in my articles. My editor’s rigorous reviews pointed out to me the lack of clarity due to jargon. It helped me understand what I didn’t know and that furthered my reading and research on the topic.
The simple act of writing regularly has made me a better student and an even better teacher. I emphasize this a lot with my students and expect correct presentation from them.
How does writing help you?
- Helps you organise your thoughts
- Improves your vocabulary
- Improves your presentation skills
- Helps you develop different perspectives of the world
- Helps you identify and improve the gaps in your understanding
- Makes you a better student of research
- Helps you nurture your creative talent
It is also a lot of fun. In closing, I encourage every parent, teacher and student to write something every day. It is one act that will add more meaning to learning experiences as well as life experiences.
Sriraghavan S M
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