Writing for Work

A large part of my job is related to writing and communication. It’s one of the things I was hired for, and it plays to my strengths, both of which are Good Things. I’ve noticed recently that it seems to be changing my writing style, though. Both at home and at work, my sentences have become shorter and more stuttered, and my transitions in particular are lacking. I’ve had trouble describing things eloquently, to the extent that even my work communications seem lesser to me than they once were.

One of our student workers complimented me on my writing yesterday, but since I’d already been thinking about how little I liked my day’s work, it didn’t make me feel a lot better. By the end of the day, I had spend about 7.5 hours solid writing guides and documentation that had to be done before a number of things go live on Monday. It wasn’t so much that I had put them off as I had been so busy I hadn’t had time until yesterday. Also, two or three of the guides I wrote were only assigned to me two days ago.

The point is, it’s not that I’m not writing. I’m writing a lot these days, but a lot of it is at work, and that seems to be stunting my writing elsewhere. It’s like exercise: if you only exercise one muscle group all the time, the rest will suffer. I need to be exercising other writing muscles more frequently.

It comes to my mind as I look at that last sentence what the answer is, or might be: I need to return to writing poetry. I’m currently re-reading Kushiel’s Dart, one of my favourite books, and the author is clearly a lover of poetry. Most of the great fiction writers were, and the ability to briefly but beautifully describe something is a goal to which I aspire. I haven’t written much poetry since I met April and found myself becoming happier, but it would certainly exercise muscles long left dormant.

Can you recommend particular poems you love? Not books or authors, but individual poems you find remarkable enough to remember the title and tell others about?

One thought on “Writing for Work

  1. this one gets me:

    A Deep-Sworn Vow, by William Butler Yeast

    OTHERS because you did not keep
    That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
    Yet always when I look death in the face,
    When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
    Or when I grow excited with wine,
    Suddenly I meet your face.

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