I’ll admit it – I’m addicted. I love reading advice from successful writers and learning the ins and outs of the craft and the trade. Recently I began subscribing to a few writing blogs that particularly impressed me. I’m learning a lot about new online venues and techniques. So I find it particularly irritating when a successful writer blogs grammar advice in one entry and breaks their own rules in the next.
In a recent post, one such author emphasized the need to proofread carefully and follow submission guidelines to the letter. Good advice. Then in the next paragraph she bemoaned “writer’s who persist” in doing things their own way. I thought at first that it was an unfortunately missed typo until she did it again in the next paragraph. This is from the same blogger who talked about editing and proofreading for simple “common, glaring mistakes” just the week before, mistakes that made her, as an editor, grind her teeth.
I really enjoy her blog and, sadly, she’s not the only one I’ve caught doing this. Too often the rush to post allows us to miss mistakes we otherwise wouldn’t. Another issue can be resolved by reading previous posts, especially where a guest blogger comes into play. A blog I follow posted about keeping it simple, choosing active voice rather than passive, and avoiding adverb abuse as much as possible. The next post was from a guest blogger who was not as concerned about clarity and concise writing, using a plethora of unnecessary verbiage to decorate his writing. I found myself wishing he had read the host’s previous advice.
I have to admit something else. I’m a grammar geek. It was built into me by my great aunt, my hero. She was amazing. She had polio as a child and by the time I came along she was pretty brittle. But she still managed to live on her own well into her late 80’s, was alert through her 90’s and died at 104. In her youth she was a proofreader for a Chicago newspaper, so when she went into the nursing home after the last time she broke her hip, she asked us to bring her red pencils. Her favorite pastime was proofreading the daily paper.
It’s pretty simple, really. Prepare – write – proofread – post. And feel free to leave comments here if I break my own rules.