“I think that differences between disciplines are exaggerated. Yes, there may be different terminology, but good writing is still good writing, and nothing can be done about it,” says George Hale, Political Science Assistant Professor and a person I am interviewing. He does not have much free time, but he surely is interested in questions – it is something I can see from an excited look on his face and thoughtful comments.
As we go on with the interview, I tell Hale about struggles students often experience while learning how to write. There may be lots of drama whenever a student has to write a literary work, especially if he or she is a business major. However, my interlocutor sees no reason for such a drama. “All you need to do is to learn how to write well in general. Do not let different terminologies scare you,” says Hale. According to him, disciplines are not that different because they still require the same qualities and skills from the writer. “Clarity, paramount priorities, persuasiveness, and decision making skills are the qualities every student needs to express while writing,” Mr Hale suggests. “Professors are looking for the point in every written work, and the student has to make it.”
Writing can also be about lots of fun, but only if students are willing to make it a fun experience. “If students care about the answers and subjects, then yes, writing can be truly fun,” believes my interlocutor. Still, it all depends on a person. If someone is willing to make this process creative and joyful, he or she will definitely achieve that; but when somebody simply makes writing the biggest trouble in the world, he or she will never succeed. Hale believes that there are many disciplines which contain a lot of information that we will definitely not understand everything. Still, it should not prevent us from trying and learning because writing well is something worth working hard. It may be challenging sometimes, especially when it comes to scientific disciplines, but with the right approach and positive mood, a person can accomplish great things in writing.
Hale points: academic writing is different from the actual literary one, and it is something students have to keep in mind. That is why the only way to become a professional is actually to write more and improve as much as possible. “Teaching students how to write well for class is different from teaching them how to be good writers,” Hale suggests making an interesting comparison between working and studying. “The world of work is different from the student’s life or writing in college because in the world of work, everybody tries to communicate and transfer information as fast as possible by using memo or any other type of writing because of the time and quick life.” It is different from actual education which requires a lot of time and thinking and allows a person to express oneself in various ways. Hence, one should not mix writing as it is for literary works such as poems and academic one which requires research and thoughtful analysis of a certain issue.
Hale believes that the differences between disciplines cannot be big enough to prevent a person from writing well. “Students should learn a discipline which would introduce them to writing. It would help them to understand the basic principles of this process,” says Hale. “After all, the basic are all the same regardless to discipline, and writing for a certain class is not that different than writing for another one.”
As we speak, Hale begins to reminiscence about his past years and personal education. It was then when he learned how to write and express one’s ideas on the paper clearly. “It was a very long time ago when I was studying how to write well,” Hale smiled, “so I may not remember that process very well. Still, I do remember that whenever I could, I was always searching for good writing pieces. I was writing a lot, reading, and improving myself.” Hale added: he learned to write well by…writing. He did not sit reading theory with no practice, but actually did something that affected his writing ability. “I improved my ability to succeed thanks to writing on many different topics and things,” Hale remembers. “I positioned myself to master different techniques and always tried to link between good writing and professional success.” Thanks to that, Hale paid a lot of attention to his writing abilities and succeeded in mastering them. Nowadays, it is something he requires from others because writing shows the person’s general educational level.
When a person can write well, he or she can do that in every discipline. It is something I have understood from the interview with Hale. “Just remember the 5-paragraph essay students in high school learn,” adds Hale. “It is something that may be very helpful in the university and further in career. It is a simple way to organize the essay and have a good structure there.” Hale believes that with 5-paragraph essay structure, one can organize and write in any subject and apply the same principles on how to write in different majors, supporting the works with evidence to prove one’s point.
With Hale expressing interesting ideas about writing, I have not even noticed that our interview has come to an end. Hale gave important advice to students willing to improve their writing abilities. “The 5-paragraph essay I mentioned is something I find essential for good writing,” Hale says, “but there is also a book which may help one with this structure.” He recommends a book called “The Element of Style” by William Strunk which seems to hold a special meaning for my interviewee. “I bought this book 35 years ago, and the book is from 1935 although it was written almost one hundred years ago,” Hale tells me. “I reread this book every year, and I still find it very helpful.” According to Hale, the book allows him to refresh his memories and knowledge when it comes to writing. “So, I recommend every person to read this book,” adds Hale with a smile.
Personally, I have not seen the book yet, but I will definitely do that since my professor intrigued me greatly. After all, the book which remains useful after one hundred years is something that definitely deserves attention. Also, the words of the professor truly inspired me. Those who tend to perceive writing as something scary and problematic should listen to his advice. In general, writing can be fun and bring a person a lot of satisfaction if he or she is willing to put an effort into it. It is something I have seen with Hale’s example and his personal experience toward writing. Nevertheless, even to him, it did not come easily. He was writing a lot before he became the professional he is now. Hence, writing, writing, and one more time writing! It is the only way to succeed.