I love writing, the pure creative act of taking words and assembling them in interesting patterns so as to communicate facts, ideas, and passions in an engaging and approachable manner. One of the reasons I blog is simply to exercise my writing skills: as with any ability, it only improves through exercise and practice, and so I advise my colleagues who want to write to, well, simply write, so that they might develop their own voice.
I admire good writers, which is one a reason why I read so much. I've never read a novel by Stephen King - I find his plots to be silly - but I admire his passion and skill for writing, which he describes in On Writing (the only work by Stephen King I've read; in this work, by the way, he relates how writing saved him after his serious accident a few years ago). Norman Mailer's The Spooky Art, William Zinsser's On Writing Well, and Christopher Volger's The Writer's Journey are other good works. In the software space, there's Joel Spolsky's The Best Software Writing and Diomidis Spinellis' Code Reading.
I've mentioned this before, but no one bit on my comment: in universities, there are fine arts courses in reading the classics, but I've yet to see a technical course in selected readings of software source code.
Another contemporary writer I admire is Aaron Sorkin. You may love or hate The West Wing, but Mr. Sorkin created powerful dialog for that series.
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