What topic or subject are you the go-to person for?
Ah yes. The question of expertise. The second daily passion prompt requires some introspection followed by a portion of horn tooting. I started to think about the things that I’m good at, and a few came to mind. I’m a fairly good scrapbooker and quilter, but nobody really comes to me for advice on either of those topics anymore. They used to, back when I was active in groups with like-minded crafters, but it’s been years. Seldom will anyone ask whether they should use crop a photo or use it whole, or if the chevron fabric should be in the narrow border or the sashing strips. I can and will give my opinion on those topics, as well as offer some other options, but my opportunities for those interactions are limited these days.
So that leaves writing. Big surprise, I’m sure. I’ve really always been a writer, even when I was little and couldn’t quite figure out how to write my own name correctly. I decided that I better practice, because that d in the middle was tricky and I couldn’t always be sure which way it was supposed to go. After a while, I was pretty sure I had it figured out. Just to be certain, I wrote it on my wooden desk, my wall, my bedspread, and my carpet (in my defense it was a horrific tannish grey almost industrial thing). Oddly, my parents were not pleased with my new found mastery.
They were more supportive of the little stories I made up in elementary school. I had a tan covered spiral notebook just for my writing. My parents even brought it along to my parent teacher conference in fifth grade. I think they were proud of me. Either that or they found something odd and felt the need for professional help. Since I never got any, I just figured on the pride thing.
In high school I was blessed with the most difficult teacher I have ever had. Dr. T was my junior year English teacher, and man, was he tough. We honors kids thought we were so smart, but Dr. T taught us plenty. The most important thing he taught us was how to write. He taught organization and research and how to follow main ideas with details that are both crystal clear and compelling. He also taught us to scrutinize our work and revise, revise, revise.
Those skills served me well in college. I was a very popular freshman essay reader, offering suggestions for strengthening arguments or pointing out repetitious sentence patterns. Over the years my skills evolved. I became a resume expert, a lesson planning resource, and a valuable member of the “word-smithing” committee. Yes, this was a real committee. Additionally, I guided the extensive revision of a Harvard University graduate application statement, allowing my brother to earn his MPA degree from the Kennedy School. Yes, I know it’s name dropping, but doesn’t it sound cool?
At work, I’m often the go-to girl for tricky emails, final proofreading, and a wide variety of other writing tasks. I enjoy helping people find the words that best express what they’re trying to say. Usually they come easily to me. Finding my own words can be a little different. When I do my own writing I start from a place where I don’t always know where I will go next. I know this approach isn’t for everyone, but I find it liberating, as it allows me to move from one thought to another freely. Of course, if I’m not careful, this approach can also produce quite a bit of verbal vomit. When that happens, it’s back to revise, revise, revise.