Four reasons to strive for writing excellence

4-reasons-excellenceIts, not It’s. Grrrr.

The flyer for an event appears in my Facebook news feed week after week with the Its/It’s error. I cringe every time I see it and hide it from my timeline.

Instant access to the world, a door of demand that never closes, and the ease with which technology has allowed us to “get out the message,” all amount to what I call a fast-tech world. Writing well in a fast-tech world can be tough when today’s culture seems to value quick response over correct writing.

What used to be infrequent in public writings has become commonplace: poor sentence structure, punctuation errors, misspelled words, and the like. You see these every day in the written communications (print and electronic) received from family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. Writers for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and television news crawls are culprits, too.

Often I give in to the casualness of it all or I’m tripped by the desire to post right away. We all get caught up in it.

Recently I visited a grammar website and found a grammatical error in the post. I sent a note via email and they thanked me after stating how embarrassing it was for them.

It’s a fast-tech world.

But here you are reading Darla Writes, where I encourage my writing friends to strive for excellence. And if you’re like me, you want that excellence to show up wherever you set your words.

The key word is strive, so please have mercy on me when you find errors in my writing, and I’ll do the same for you.

strive-definition

Here are four reasons to strive for writing excellence.

  1. The next generation is depending on you. If the craft of writing is important to you, then work to preserve its beautiful forms. Share your passion for writing with the young people in your life. Encourage them to read regularly and keep a journal. Praise them when you see examples of good writing. I work for a school, so I have plenty of opportunities to pass the writing baton to the next wave of writers.
  2. A potential client, an agent, your boss, or someone else you want to impress might read what you write. You never know where your message will end up. Let everything you write act as a business card for your craft. An agent who receives a forwarded message from your friend’s friend will not be impressed to see “hv u snt teh scrp to hr yet?” The goal you should have for anything you write is that it be noticed in a positive way.
  3. People can learn from you. One of my tasks at my day job is to check outgoing documents for grammar and word usage. I’ve noticed a marked decrease in the editing I have to do because I was willing to point out and explain the errors. Take advantage of these opportunities when they come your way.
  4. You’re a writer. You love your craft. Why limit your skills to the times when you’re in your writing zone? Your everyday life, at work and at play, can be used to both hone and share your skills. There’s no need to don a mask. Be known as the writer wherever you go!

Use these reasons to resist the urge to shelve your writing skills in this fast-tech world. You can do it — I’m rooting for you!

That’s just a start. What reasons can you add to this list?


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8 thoughts on “Four reasons to strive for writing excellence

  1. Excellent Post Darla and it’s about time. Funny enough, when we first started blogging, we kept reading on several sites that blogs were the one place where a writer can write without the fear of mistakes. We didn’t get it. Why should that make a difference. The tips you gave will hopefully encourage people and remind them that we DO have a responsibility to our future generations to show by example. On a lighter note, we have nominated you for “The Reality Blog Award.” Just head over to our blog for details and congrats my friend!

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  2. I sent an email at work today while someone was talking to me (you’d think they’d get the hint that I didn’t have time to chat since I never stopped typing when they interrupted me!). TWO grammatically errors. Ugh, I wanted to recall the message even though it only went to a few people who I work closely with and knew wouldn’t care. But I cared. 😦

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    1. And that’s the difference. You CARE. A few weeks ago I sent out an all-school e-newsletter and I found a misspelled word. I had been under pressure to get it out and, sure enough, I missed something. I used to post my newsletters to our website, which gave me a chance to fix errors, if needed. This year we switched to e-newsletters. Once it’s sent, that’s it. Fast-tech world, indeed.

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  3. I recently wrote a post on Limebird about how my copyediting career affects my pleasure reading. I probably proofread that post at least a half a dozen times thinking how embarrassing it would be if I had a typo or grammatical error after going on and on about my editing skills! Haha.

    I get really annoyed at errors in blog and FB posts, but not so much the comments/replies section. I think we need to proofread our work that we’re putting out there because you just never know who will be reading it. Lit agent? Publisher? 🙂 The comments/replies I can more easily forgive errors because once we hit ‘submit’ we can’t go back and edit.

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    1. I don’t mind the occasional error on Facebook or blog posts. Most conscientious writers hate it when they find a typo in their work. It’s when the writer chooses to be sloppy because it’s “hip” or she’s lazy or he thinks writing well is not important — that’s what concerns me.

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  4. You are so right, Darla, and it’s everywhere.

    Today we passed the informational sign in front of a church. Here was their sermon topic: Jesus is comming and hes got a lot of questions.
    This rates right up there with getting a complimentary note that says, “Your a great english teach. Thanx”

    I recently read an article in a business magazine in my doctor’s office. The basic premise was that by 2025 texting would be the accepted form of communication–and actually applauded–because busy, intelligent texting professionals save time and energy while still communicating clearly.

    Hmm. Really?
    Excellent post, Darla.

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    1. Oh, I have a serious case of the grammar shakes with that one, Marylin! What an awful display on the church sign. As for the business article, it will be one sorry day when taking the time to communicate well is seen as getting in the way of your work.

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