How does being an engineer influence your writing?

Part of my writing is an escape from my engineering job, which is very technical and precise. But some skills have transferred over. I’ll give you three:

  1. In engineering, the idea is to design something, test it, and if it doesn’t work, redesign and retest. It’s a cycle. Writing is a similar cycle: write, get feedback from readers, revise, get feedback, and usually revise again. This perseverance is key to becoming an author!
  2. Another skill I’ve learned from engineering is how to break down a problem. In engineering, I am CONSTANTLY troubleshooting problems to find a fix. In writing and editing, I have to do the same. Find the problems in the story and fix them. I’m good at categorizing the big issues and breaking down what needs to happen in the story (chapter by chapter) to fix them.
  3. I have learned to separate criticism from myself. In engineering, if a design doesn’t work, it’s not always because I designed it wrong. Sometimes, the environment caused a problem. Sometimes, it’s wear and tear on a wire that makes it break and causes a problem. So the problem isn’t an attack on me or my skills. Same with writing. If something isn’t working in writing, or if someone tells you they didn’t like a certain part, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. It’s not an attack on you as a person.

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