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Monday, June 17, 2013

So you think you can write?

In my writing career I have used an untold number of words in my 2 newspaper columns, 2 published books, 2 e-books and 611 blog posts with 28,657 views. That's a whole lot of words!

It's a good thing I paid attention during my English class all those years ago. I have been told on numerous occasions that not only what I write, but how I write, makes my words worth reading.

I have known people who may have the ability to put their thoughts down on paper, but the way those thoughts end up makes me cringe. Some of these people often believe that what they have to say is so important others will just overlook their bad writing habits. Grammar, spelling and proper punctuation are important; ask any English teacher or editor. Just because a person has a pen and paper or a computer does not mean they are destined to be a writer.

There is no excuse for anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a writer to be sloppy. If you can't take pride in how you are writing it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Please!

One of the things that really irritates me when I am reading something is paragraphs that go on and on and never seem to find an ending. Another is the constant use of $5 words, causing one to pull out a dictionary to grasp the full meaning of the content. I prefer to keep my writing simple and easy for anyone to understand.

I know a writer who finds it necessary to use an abundance of exclamation points and question marks before, in the middle and after what he writes. For example: "!!?? Listen to !!?? what I AM telling you!!??" Good grief it reminds me of a little boy stomping his feet to get his mother's attention. A writer does not need to yell to be heard by readers if what he/she is saying is worth hearing.

Yesterday a person that I am trying to encourage to write told me she just started a blog. Curious, I checked it out and was appalled. After printing out one of her posts I took a red pen and circled all the obvious mistakes. There were 34 in an article that was not even a page in length. This same person informed me that she is planning to write to my former publisher to see if she can get her work published. I silently screamed, "NO don't do that!"

Oh well, I guess everyone has their own idea of what makes a good writer. I had to learn what to do and what not to do on my own, one step at a time. It was a long process. One thing I hope I have learned is to allow others the experience of learning from their own decisions.

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