Correct. Above all else, passion and continued perseverance are the hallmarks of anyone truly successful at their trade. There is an excellent quote from Saint Francis of Assisi that, quite honestly, explains the software engineering field about as well as it did masonry in the 13th century (or writing in the 18th century).
He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
1. He who works with his hands and heart, but not his head.
2. He who works with his head and heart, but not his hands.
For completeness there's the null set.
Who is someone who works with...
...his heart, but neither hands nor head: A blood donor.
...his head, but neither hands nor heart: A brain in a jar.
...neither hands, heart, nor head: A pointy-haired boss.
The time involved is basically the same for laborer, craftsman and artist; they differ only in quality of and intention behind the effort. The laborer could be a craftsman or an artist by changing his perspective and approach to his work. From this perspective, the laborer is lesser because he does not fully apply himself, not as a result of his profession.
There are a lot of ways to deconstruct a one dimensional artists > craftsmen > laborers point of view because it is overly simplistic.
If people are elitists at work and they're snooty about it, why stop them?
I would not want to stop people being elitist, only for those who are to understand that their behaviour has a cost on at least some of those around them.
The implication is not a good one, either. What is one without passion do, just give up? Doesn't seem to be terribly helpful thinking, especially since it's not clear where passions come from or how they develop.
No, he didn't come from wealth or a highly-educated family or any of that. But he could think and learn, far more so than most. Something his biographers (though not TFA) frequently take pains to note.
1. Writing poetry is good, but writing (and delivering) speeches is better. Nothing ferrets out difficult to follow, unnatural or confusing language better than getting up in front of a group and presenting it. Speeches also tend to be short-form, so they really force you to condense your ideas.
2. Writing is a multi-phase process, and each phase should be approached separately. Specifically:
2a.) The first step in good writing is to create a logical structure of your document - figure out what you want to talk about, then arrange the ideas you are going to cover into an ordered tree structure. Include questions you want to answer, any relevant research, and examples or analogies you want to cover. Personal opinions aside, Ayn Rand's The Art of Nonfiction is actually a very good guide to logical document structure.
2b.) The next step is to convert this structured document tree into prose. For this step, I suggest getting a pen and lined paper and getting away from the computer. Have a printed copy of your document tree to reference, and try to flesh it out without worrying too much about style.
2c.) Finally, transcribe your handwritten prose onto your word processor of choice, and edit for style. The basic tenets from The Element of Style are good. Favor short, direct, positive, active sentences. Focus on descriptive verbs and nouns rather than loading up on adverbs and adjectives. Try to trim unnecessary words. Beyond that, try to inject metaphor into your writing as much as possible. If you use a metaphor, try to stick with the same one for the entire paragraph. Use wordplay such as rhymes and alliterations to make important sentences more memorable.
As for (2c), I've come up with a similar idea for doing multiple edits. I try to focus on a different writing "axiom" for each iteration. For example, I can cut out adverbs on the first run-through, add metaphor next, etc.
StackExchange has a nice collection of writing rules here: http://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/761/the-rules-of-...
More than anything, it teaches you to write the way you talk. That's generally a good thing. Most forms of writing education tell you to communicate clearly, as though you're speaking your words -- but they don't show you how. Writing a speech forces you to confront the way you sound. When great writers talk about writing "by ear," this is what they mean.
This is a terrible way to learn Italian, by modern thinking; because almost nobody is actually going to do it, and it won't actually get you speaking Italian. It's incredibly demanding for little reward. But if you know nobody who speaks Italian, have an Italian grammar book and immense dedication, and no TV or video games to fill the long, lonely, candlelit hours, I suppose you might as well?
Similarly, hand-copying and re-writing Spectator articles multiple times in multiple forms is probably a (labor-intensive) way to improve your prose. But today we have word processors with copy and paste and blogs. Why not just write there and practice rewriting that?
Franklin's method forces you to create writing (instead of just ingesting it) and then gives you specific feedback on whether you succeeded or failed (through comparison to the original).
The dissect-chunking-integrate-feedback model works everywhere, and what fascinates me is that Franklin figured it out through his own experiments.
But what does irritate is that the site has dozens of third party scripts, including passing on your email to "intercom" and a bunch of other trackers without hashing it or using a different tracker Id.
So you not only have to trust the content to Draft, you have to trust it to a dozen third parties with which you have no relationship.
And to achieve nothing you can't achieve by setting your preferred text editor to full screen.
Heck set your taskbar to "auto-hide" and notepad.exe can replicate what you've got there.
I do wish someone would make a non-OSX version that was as nice.
I have! I like Scrivener as well and it's very powerful but its "does everything" functionality has led to some bloat in the UI department. Ulysses seems more thoughtfully designed but doesn't have the same breadth of features.
Which would a novice programmer learn more from: blindly using whatever sort function their standard library provides; flailing around until they invent something like bubble sort and trying to optimize it; or reading about a few sort algorithms, picking one, and implementing it in their language of choice?
(A pro, of course, would probably either use stdlib's sort, or know where to find a library of multiple sorts that someone spent days tweaking for amazing performance within various constraints.)
If you need an excuse to practice your writing, you may want to try National Novel Writing Month, which coincidentally, starts tomorrow.
E.g: Take existing good code written by others, make notes on what it does, then write it yourself and compare to the original.
For most of us, who need to write for work, we probably don't have (or think we have the time to do that). I've found it helpful to think of the story I'm trying to tell, as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and a hero(es), villian(s), etc. Then, everything is about the story, not about showing how smart you are by using a lot of big words, not about hiding complexity where it's a key part of the story, etc.
Becoming good at anything, especially writing, is a practice in developing your attention.
1) Listen and Notice what's going on around you every day. Keep a daily journal of your observations. No one creates out of nothing. We only combine details we've seen elsewhere.
2) Focus on the smallest possible detail that still captures the meaning of the whole.
3) Do this every day. Create a practice of awareness. Life is full of meaning. We just have to learn to see it.
If there's one thing which can vastly improve writing, it's knowing how to write in simple manner. And by "simple", I mean "keeping your parse trees short". I don't know how computationally intensive parsing is on an universal computer. But I know from experience that trying to read a text with long run-on sentences or with obnoxious grammatical features (like an overuse of subordinate clauses) can feel like pure suffering.
And I think this advice largely emcompasses those recommendations like "keep it short", "be direct" or "always use a period, never a semicolon". Because if you keep away from baroque parse trees, at least you won't be a bad writer.
In the popular sense, at least. If you're writing literature, you can do it freestyle. You can do a whole page of flow of consciousness, have footnotes on footnotes on footnotes, whatever.
 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parse_tree
Which is why I've mentioned literature: if you do try to keep it all short and avoid anything but periods, all you'll manage is to sound like Hemingway. And there's more to literature than Hemingway.
It seems to me that until the 20th century, this was considered the "fashionable" and proper way to write. Most of the intellectuals of the time seemed to write this way. I wonder why?
However, I'm not sure if this is true or not; I'd have to look at how many copies of various books sold in the 19th century US, which was not known for its mass illiteracy. Knowing that the Ku Klux Klan got their burning crosses from Sir Walter Scott, I'm suspecting that Myers' theory isn't as comprehensive as it looks; Scott, at least, enjoyed a mass market. (And then there's the steamers from London greeted with the question, "How is Little Nell?")
The real dynamic might be elitism -- a desire to be reading text that the populace wouldn't understand, if they encountered it. That would explain why academic prose has gotten more opaque over time, regardless of what popular fiction is doing -- and would explain why postmodern floweriness is mostly confined to the sort of books that get reviewed in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the like.
> It was a feature peculiar to the colonial wars of North America, that the toils and dangers of the wilderness were to be encountered before the adverse hosts could meet. A wide and apparently an impervious boundary of forests severed the possessions of the hostile provinces of France and England. The hardy colonist, and the trained European who fought at his side, frequently expended months in struggling against the rapids of the streams, or in effecting the rugged passes of the mountains, in quest of an opportunity to exhibit their courage in a more martial conflict. But, emulating the patience and self-denial of the practiced native warriors, they learned to overcome every difficulty; and it would seem that, in time, there was no recess of the woods so dark, nor any secret place so lovely, that it might claim exemption from the inroads of those who had pledged their blood to satiate their vengeance, or to uphold the cold and selfish policy of the distant monarchs of Europe.
This was an extremely popular novel in its day, in the literal sense of "popular" - by no means was it read exclusively among the elite, and indeed the literary elite of the time tended to regard it despite occasional equivocation as generally of good quality - although Twain, with his usual inimitable style, quite rightly suggests  that Fenimore's work in general should have been considerably less well regarded than it was. Nonetheless, that it was so regarded, and so widely read, can hardly be brought into question.
And if you're dictating to a scribe, or writing something which is intended to be a long spoken exposition of some subject (like a sermon or a lecture), then it's less likely that you'll pick on how odd they seem when read. More even, if the majority of readers does read things out loud (which might have been the case) then it won't seem as strange to them too.
David Foster Wallace certainly pulls this off in Infinite Jest
The Spectator that Franklin made a model of is no relation of the modern magazine. This Spectator was an "essay series", a peculiarly 18th century genre, something like an editorial column without a magazine -- or a blog, for that matter.
At the time, the Spectator essays were considered the high-water mark of good style and clear expression in English.
You can read them for yourself on Project Gutenberg:
I've had about enough bullshit "engagement" today, and marketmedications.com won't be getting visits from me until I forget how rude they are.
I'm pretty sure that if Ben Franklin were writing today, he'd want to publish somewhere that wasn't so annoying it chased readers away.
"If you're already better at writing than Benjamin Franklin, feel free to disregard"