Last Classes of 2013

Two weekends in a row at class this month…giving a “break” for the Christmas and New Year holidays. We don’t go back to class until the 10th, but I left both Friday and Saturday with a significant amount of homework (hence the quotes around “break”).

I am learning a great deal, of course, but there are hard parts. Halfway through Friday morning I tweeted “my brain hurts #financeclass.” Later I compared on Facebook Time Value of Money to a battle of wits to the death with the Sicilian Vizzini in The Princess Bride. I’ll have more to write about the Finance work (it will go on through February), especially as I work through the homework over break.

Saturday, though, was better. Business Writing was taxing at times, but I at least could understand my failings. The learning, while occasionally humbling, came much more easily. The writing samples I turned in are all marked up with purple pen. I turned in documents that I didn’t allow anyone else to edit first…which I knew meant that the writing was rough. At least three sentences among the handful of documents contained 60 or more words. Some other notes from my pre-work:

  • Use the active voice more. The passive should be reserved for almost never.
  • Avoid “it” at the start of a sentence. Tends to mean the thought is unclear in nearly all cases.
  • Business writing isn’t like academic writing. Academics use BLAB form: Bottom Line At Bottom. Business uses require BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front.
  • I tend towards long rambling sentences, and rather than making my point I obscure it. Making the readers work too hard for the point is poor writing.
  • I have a few catch phrases of fluff (like “it appears”) that are peppered into my writing that I need to cut out for simplicity and concision.

Yeah. Not my finest writing, and my writing is not the finest to begin with.

I think the homework and the class lectures for Business Writing will help me in my blogging. I’ve switched to writing the posts in Microsoft Word so that I can look at the grammar while I’m writing. My hope is that because I’m writing there and checking grammar as well as spelling will make me more deliberate about improving my writing as I blog.

Oh! One last thing: this is the 99th post on my blog since Changing Horses Midstream started in July. Tomorrow there will be a special post for number 100. Thank you to all my faithful readers for encouraging me as I study and write!

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