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Learning how to write – Certifiably insane

‘De stok dat zijn wij. De lat bepaal jij.’
‘We’ll be the bar, you’ll decide how high to raise it.’

It’s the slogan for one of the educational facilities here in the land of the Dutch. Their commercials are everywhere, which pretty much means that I’ve heard the phrase enough to passionately hate it.

Just like how you’ll ruin your newly released favorite song by keeping it on repeat so long that you overdo it, and then subsequently hate it every time it starts hitting the radio stations when it’s picked up months later.

But last week I started looking at college courses (and ended up on their website) while filling in my yearly review at work. You know the kind – where you reflect on your past performance and future ambitions so you can convince your manager to grade you with the highest possible mark for 5/6/7 years in a row in hopes of making a killing when it’s time for a salary raise (only to be disappointed when that comes in low. Again. And again. And again.)

This year it was an interesting one to write, with the change of job and subsequent successes and steep steep learning curve. So all in all, that review in itself was in the pocket already. But there’s always the question at the end which has you looking at the year to come and the things you’d like to achieve. This year?

I wrote down that I want to learn how to write.

Now. For those of you who hang around here pretty much daily…watching me do just that…that might feel a little weird. But in the world I was brought up in – just being able to do something is never enough. If you don’t know WHY you’re doing it the way you do it and have the paper to prove that you LEARNED how to do it…you, in fact, can’t ‘really‘ do it. Aka – I can’t write, because I was never taught how to. It’s all just lucky strikes based on no know-how whatsoever.

So I want to learn how to write.

Not just to improve the quality of my writing, but also because I’d like to have one of those silly pieces of paper that make it possible to ‘prove‘ to other people that I can. I’ve always had a knack for collecting diploma’s. Because if I don’t have the paper to back it up – can I really justify that my writing has any merit whatsoever?

Studying comes easy to me, so I’ve always jumped at any opportunity to grab another degree, or certification or anything that puts a stamp on an acquired skill that will reflect well on a resume. I’m a generalist in that regard too, I haven’t specialized in one knowledge area but just picked up bits and pieces from whichever fields I bordered in my work (from softskills, conflict management to software testing, to developing, to automation and from agile working to classical management theories.)

As long as there’s a diploma or other result to show for spending my time on it – I’m down.

But now that I’m looking at all of these courses around writing – I’m mostly learning that I know VERY little about writing, and which course would be the best to prove that I am…in fact…a capable writer. Should I be looking at Creative writing for Competitive Environments? Commercial writing? Business Value Copywriting? Tender writing?
They all seem like fucking basic bitch programs with no ACTUAL scientifically based pool of knowledge that could be given in a local library by some dude who just took up a fancy for teaching without having any particular skill. Or let go of the writing focused theme entirely and just go for a Sales program of some sort with an element of commercial awareness? A new college degree in Business? Or Marketing Communications? But are they of any use?

There’s so many choices, and with my general lack of knowledge on the subject of writing (I’ve always just ‘done’ it, so far). I have no clue. And it’s driving me certifiably insane. Although that, too, is not going to result in a degree I can mention on my cv. Darn. I thought writing was supposed to come easy.

33 thoughts on “Learning how to write – Certifiably insane

  1. Education with a certificate has been elusive for me on my journey through life. I try to read what I can when I can and keep my ears open for knowledge. I envy your ability to aquire certifiable knowledge and diplomas.

    One think that is working for me in my circumstance is to get out and do.

    Your writing is top notch. Get out and write. Sure, we can always improve, and we are forever learning, but keep going!

    Brother’s Campfire

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This tip is also golden. Sometimes I stay stuck on ‘thinking about doing’ way too long. Just getting up and having at it is ever so important as well. Thanks for the reminder.


  2. Many moons ago, I wrote some poems that I was attached to. My uncle, a geologist, showed them to his sister, who was an English professor of some sort. I never met her. I waited with trepidation to hear her what she thought of my writing. She gave me some valuable feedback and spoke well of many of them. My uncle then shot me out of the sky by saying, “Now, all you have to do is figure out how this will put food on the table.”

    It was probably ten years after that I had anything published.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. SMiLes… THere Is Art…
    THere Is Science…
    In Art We Loose
    Our Neo-Cortex
    To Find Our ‘Soul’
    ( Our Subconscious
    Much Greater 95% Mind)
    In Science We Create
    Out of The
    Chaos Magic
    Of Nature.. Yes
    Art And Become
    Constricted More
    In Our Neo-Cortex
    In The Mechanical
    Cognition We Do
    To Make
    Out of Art
    Farther Away
    From Our Soul
    Yes The Ocean
    Deep Part Whole
    With Endless New
    Colors of Life We
    iMaGiNE And
    Is For School
    And Working For
    Money As Both
    Are Designed to
    Do… Art Is For
    Sprouting Wings
    New Flying Higher…
    i Never Had A Lesson
    Creatively Writing Scientists
    Call Me
    A ‘Fool’
    Men Of
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    Original Artists
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    Describe me
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    Online Oh God
    It Was Pure Gold
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    Free Verse Long
    Form EPiC Poem
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    Subject Hero
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    i Have no idea
    How to Dance
    But it Didn’t Stop
    People From Yelling
    Legend Out of
    Car Windows
    Or A Car Load
    Of Women Screaming
    At Me In A Bar Parking
    Lot to Take my Shirt
    Off Still Without
    A 6-Pack At 60
    And More Than
    One Yes Two
    Women With
    A Grinding
    Hips Forced
    Dance Asking
    For My Phone
    Number As i
    Replied in Words
    To the Effect What
    In The World Are
    You Trying
    To Do With
    Grand Pa
    Turning 60
    Now That i Have
    Public Danced
    14,024 Miles
    In 87 Months
    Same Span
    Of Dates Collecting
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    Words of
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    Poetry Art
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    Like This From
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    All Around A
    Globe Still Now
    With Zero Rules
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    Art… ‘Forrest Gump’
    And The Goddess
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    Agree even
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    A Thing




    Do Something

    Don’t Ask Just


    Do It

    i Surely

    Don’t Visit

    You For Your

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    Aced That Test in

    A Desert Without

    Art For 40 Years

    (3 Degrees, 33 Years
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    In the Machine
    Of Society
    For School
    And Work
    All For
    ‘The God’
    Of Money And STuFF)

    Age 13 To

    53 IT’s F iN

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    Art The Larger


    The Whole

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    Till Age 50

    And Described

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    i Moved Just

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    Own Wings

    Be Mastered

    By No Servant..🎨

    Don’t Make Yourself

    So Predictable Like

    All The Rest


    i Have Sampled

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    -Old G.O.A.T. 🐐

    Just Passing


    Of Many Labels

    Named As ASSiGNeD

    By Others As

    i ReFuse




    By one More

    Or Less Than i Am…🙃😜🤡

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Technical writing? I took that way back when (although not as way back as you might expect looking at my aged faded self). Not sure if they offer something across the pond that’s equivalent, but it’s a starting point.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think there is a difference between being able to do something well and understanding why you make the choices that you do. In one of my former careers/jobs, we all did out job well, but only the person in a PhD program for that specialty could actually describe the discerning factors in our choices. If it takes a series of courses and a piece of paper to do that, that’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your quest made me think of the Wizard of Oz and how the Scarecrow is always saying he wants a brain, yet he’s always the one solving all the problems. At the end the Wizard gives him a piece of paper to prove he has the brains he had all the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I might go on a quest for a brain, indeed. While I’m out there.
      (But in all honesty – thank you for the lovely compliment. I hope I really do turn out to be that scarecrow when it comes to writing).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love education and certification. But it’s more often than not about getting a little time to focus on something, instead of about getting skills and knowledge from a teacher. And not about smart or right answers, but about reciting page so-and-so. So I hate education and certification….
    You don’t need any of it, I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I got my BS degree later in life. I must admit while attaining it — it kept me in a zone of discipline which helped me in writing one of my books “Where in Oz is the Church?” It also helped me with my writing skills. Doing those blasted 400 word essays every other day. Now I write at least 500 word blog posts without thinking about it. So I must say I walked away with many rewards and it was well worth the experience and time. Blessings and Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Zoe, I relate heavily to this. I read some poetry yesterday, and it was fabulous. I complimented the writer and from a little talking, found out that she studied literature. Sometimes, it makes the difference learning to do something you can already do. Although, I gotta say, it sucks that we’ve got to have a certificate that says we can do something we can already do. Hoeever, it is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with the other comment, technical writing can be a rewarding field of study! That’s what my degree is in… well, my minor at least.
    Great blog post. I really enjoy watching other writers push themselves. I’m sure you will do great in the field you decide on. If technical writing is something you are more curious about, I run a blog that details my journey as a working technical writer. Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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