The Most Useful Skills I’ve Ever Learned

Did you ever sit in school wondering why on earth you were learning Latin?  Or about Henry VIII’s wives?  Or the Periodic Table?  Yes, I know the value of education, that it’s not just a set of vocational skills designed to get you a job, but I’ve often wondered about the most useful, and most used, life skills I have.

My Most Used Skills (in no particular order): The skills I don’t have, and wish I did have, are (in no particular order):
To read. To use a television remote control.  (Truly, I can’t.  My husband, son or daughter has to do it for me, particularly when grandson is demanding to watch CBeebies.)
To drive a car. To do routine household maintenance.  (I can’t change a light bulb, knock a nail in a wall, or mow a lawn.)
To cook (family meals, mostly, not Master Chef stuff). To do routine car maintenance.  (My husband checks my oil and water and the local garage does everything else!)
To touch type. To gain the confidence to talk to people, particularly to strangers and in crowds, without drying or talking nonsense.
To express myself on paper using grammatical English. To speak a foreign language.  (I can read French, Spanish and Italian up to a point.
To sew (make clothes, alter and mend them). To express myself better on paper.

kokcharovskillhierarchy2015Wait a minute.  This blog is called Write On.  It’s supposed to be about writing.  So, if you’re still here, Dear Reader, and haven’t yet moved on to the next blog…  all these skills do impact on my writing.

If I’d never read, I’d never have wanted to write.  I started thinking up stories in childhood, because Enid Blyton (in particular) hadn’t written enough for me.  If I couldn’t express myself on paper, I’d be climbing up the wall, because the stories inside me would have no outlet.   If I couldn’t touch type, my writing progress would be intolerably slow and – even more importantly – my ability to express myself on paper would drain away from me if I was having to search out each letter on the keyboard.   So much is obvious, but the other skills on the left hand side, apart from being essential survival skills, provide valuable thinking time.   As for the wish list on the right hand side, not being able to use a television remote, which is only marginally inconvenient, stops me wasting time on the gogglebox.    Not being about to speak ANY foreign language is a nuisance when travelling, and a pain, unless you set every story on your own doorstep.  The one that really holds me back is having such poor confidence in social situations, as I could never promote my own work, which you have to do if you’re going to be successful, traditionally-published or self-published.

Btw… deep breath… a story of mine, Burnt Down, will appear on Alfie Dog Fiction starting from 18 December.  I’ve been asked me to promote it, so I am doing just that.   Hope you enjoy it.

 

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8 thoughts on “The Most Useful Skills I’ve Ever Learned

  1. Learning to read is prbably the skill I most appreciate learning. Writing comes a close second. My coking is OK, my driving dreaful and I can’t touch type at all.

  2. You do pretty well at the first two, Patsy. Can’t comment on the others. You talk about skills learned, whereas some of mine – like cooking – I’ve learned as I go along.

  3. Yes, I guessed that you wrote your comment in a massive hurry and probably on your phone!

  4. Self-confidence – ah how I empathise. I just can’t promote my own stuff. I have paperback copies of a book sitting in boxes as I just can’t go out and say – this is good – read it! It’s a pendulum with me – ‘oooh look, I can write’ on one swing, ‘ooh no-one would want to read it’ on the other. I haven’t read anything you have written other than your blog. Time to remedy that with Alfie Dog then…

    1. Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. My novels could end up buried like the Dead Sea Scrolls! Please do look up my story on Alfie Dog. I will have to do a promo for it on 18 December. Somehow, doing it online never seems so awful.

  5. You have one skill on the left that I don’t have and deeply envy – touch typing. It’s a four-finger job for me. I can do some of the stuff on the right, but I, too, struggle with speaking in public. I have joined the local toastmasters club. It is a bit challenging, but the atmosphere is very gentle, the people are a delight and I am making progress – I recommend it.

    1. Toastmaster-ing sounds interesting. Me myself I have no problem speaking in public. I am a teacher and used to addressing 18 recalcitrant teenagers (sometimes 20, in a room with 18 computers, on an IT course). It’s putting about my own writing I hate.

      And, yes, touch-typing is one of the most useful skills. After being at university and doing a history degree, my post-graduate secretarial course, at a local technical college, seemed like a terrible anti-climax, but everything I learned there has proved invaluable, over and over again.

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