I went to Catholic schools, and for all their flaws, one skill that was drilled into us was expository writing. We dallied with creative writing as well, but Sister Mary Malachi and Sister Leonard Marie (the two who had the greatest energy around this) were both fiends for clarity and logic and appropriateness in our writing.
This has served me well professionally, and now serves me well in seminary, although sometimes I suspect my profs find me a bit too...well, too whatever, but they universally compliment me, saying things like "clear and engaging." It feeds my ego, and sends me down imagination-roads of publishing. PH, who was formerly married to a professional writer, shudders whenever I mumble things like that.
The food that built my writing muscles was vast quantities of reading. I find myself referencing a wide variety of authors in my writing (Albert Camus on travel for my paper on Qatar, for example), and model my style on others when I've been warned that some professors favor one style over another (Hemingway over Faulkner, say, for a professor who hates run-on sentences).
I'm saddened by the lack of engagement among some of my fellow students on the art of writing. They are busy churning out the dozens of pages we are required to produce. There seems little grace, in any sense of the word, in what they produce.
Sad, because crafting an elegantly crisp phrase, or unwinding a looping sentence that places you in time and space like a gavotte, is such sheer pleasure.
I may be stubborn, but I refuse to relinquish that pleasure even in the brief pieces I will write.