You could start by looking at the title. Or maybe I should’ve said, “You CAN start by looking at the title.” Maybe I should’ve capitalized the “W” in with, but it just didn’t look right. And there – in that statement – you have my entire experience of high school English.
Feck learning the rules of English grammar. I was more like the Helen Keller of my native tongue. Does it feel right? Does it sound right? That’s typically what I go with.
Now, I’m not some kind of idiot…
Alright, well, today I am because I got into a little fender-bender on the highway and I “trusted” the other driver who rear ended me by taking down only his name and number. Not his license. Not his plates or registration. His name and number. Well, he gave me a fax line. A fake fax line.
So, today I am sort of a d*ck.
But, not usually…
When I have to hand in an assignment to an actual publication, when I do something for money, let’s say, then the Strunk & White comes out.
Things get checked. Rules are gone over, learned, re-learned, and understood. But, not in this space. In this space, I believe as Seth Godin and Ze Frank have said, “You have to ship.” You have to ‘send’ things before they are 100% and tweak along the way because the internet moves fast. And if you’re not ‘shipping’ you might as well be dead.
That means you have to hit publish even before things are ready.
So, when I write fast, as I’m doing now, there are frequent repeated patterns of ca-ca in my writing. I’d like to go over them now. It helps me to take a temperature on how I’m doing. It also says, “Hey, I’m far from infallible. You?” Well, let’s be imperfect together.
My writing can be a clunk-fest. Oh, clunky writing. Sometimes my posts are chunky, platform shoes worn with an ill-fitting prairie skirt and tolerated by taking a too few many sips of wine. (See what I mean?) I tend to say a mouth full when a nibble will do. I work on it, surely, I do. However, I like writing long assed things. Full sentences that spill over into the next ones. It’s not great in the literary sense. It’s not. If an English teacher were to read this post there’d be red marks all over it. (I mean, I just said ‘there’d!’)
I’m comma crazy. God, I love a comma. I’ll put six of them in a sentence, (see) if it makes sentences seem like I’m talking right to you. Sure, I understand WHY they’re supposed to be used – mainly for clauses. Well, let’s just say, I have a CLAUSE addiction. I’ll put things -between two more things- just because I can. And you see, that’s not the proper way to bracket off the clause. But, it feels right and typically you’ll get it. It doesn’t make it right, but it does make it me.
I misspell things. Misspellings I WILL go back and fix. See my post – grammar d*cks and doggie clits, to see more on my thoughts therein. I think if a post is riddled with misspellings it can be a true turn-off. It tends to be the visual equivalent of someone with a regional equivalent who has never sought out a way to round out his voice a bit more. You start to think this redneck/ white trash/ southern/ northern/ yankee/ truck driver/ mutherfecker needs to learn some manners. I’m all about manners, so bad spelling I will fix. I try to not have it happen at all. But, if you are truly ‘shipping’ it is impossible not to do so from time to time. So my method is publish, pray, and tweak. Doesn’t have to be yours, but it is mine.
I’m not the best at plot. When I try to write true fiction, it sucks. Truly, it does. Now it may get better over time, but fiction is not my forte. Non-fiction – yes. Quirky stuff – falling somewhere between 500 – 1,000 words – golden. But, plot??!! I’ve tried. I’ve had notecards all over my wall mapping out a plot from A to Z. Only to sit down and write it and very quickly, thereafter, want to open a vein. Part of knowing what you’re good at is knowing where you truly suck. Doesn’t mean you can’t get better, but -for me- honesty is key.
That’s it for today. A criticism of me, by me. I will say, though, to quote Chris Brogan — WE’RE ALL DOING IT WRONG.
What about you? Where are your writing weak spots?
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