Tag Archives: writing

All About the Words

“You should write that down.”

Why do I hear that so often? Why do I say that so often? My love affair with the written word clearly needs an outlet. Some people think in pictures. I swear, I think in print. I often see my thoughts as words on a page. How weird is that?

I’ve journaled since I could write – even before I could write. My early childhood diaries looked like comic strips with tiny hieroglyphics and symbols I obviously believed were words. Every time I go back to take yet another college course it’s always something language related. I chat and text more than my teenage daughter. And my weekly staff memos read more like magazine articles than emails.

Let’s face it – I’m into words. They’re my thing.

I played around with publishing and that was fun. Successfully publishing two of my first three attempts should have ignited a fire but it kind of didn’t. Sure, I got to create this cool little pseudonym and brag and even got paid but, honestly, the experience left me a little flat. Like many new writers, I ran to every local book store to see my work in print and take pictures for my scrapbook but it wasn’t as rewarding as I expected. I still have several copies of each book but it’s not like I ever open them.

I think I’ve realized that for me it’s not about the paper; it’s about the words.Liberating

As a child of the ’70s and product of the ’80s I battle the ingrained notion that if it’s not edited, peer-reviewed, and published by Pearson then it doesn’t count; hence, my previous motivation to publish and nagging hesitance to blog. Many writers share the fear that the digital age and electronic media will be the end of the written word as we know it. With the exception of tabloids, being published used to mean something more than merely typing and posting. If words were in print, on paper, they were trusted and meaningful. Now everyone with Internet access is suddenly an author and many of them can’t even spell. Some don’t know to use you‘re instead of your and were absent the day students learned the difference between their, there, and they’re. Further verses farther isn’t even on their writing radar. But I have discovered the web-provided-all-access-publisher-pass is not necessarily a bad thing.

Eliminating the need to alter one’s words or follow conventional rules in order to please a publisher is liberating. I am the first to admit that electronic media has altered my writing style completely. Sometimes grammar goes right out the window for the sake of voice.

I. So. Get. That.

Grammatical disasters aside, there’s some serious expression happening on this World Wide Web.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been encouraged to write if for no other reason than because it brings me such joy. If my love affair is truly about the words then why not share them? If my motivation is not about paper, then why not self publish electronically? Truth is, I don’t write for reader validation; I write for me.

“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34

My heart is full of contemplation from my life’s experiences and my head is full of words. I need to get them out. If people find my words useful or entertaining then I’m glad I put this blog out there. If not, I hope they find something better to read; there is so much available! And if my words never get read at all, well, what difference does that really make to me?

This blog is not about money, status, attention, or making a statement. It’s just about my words. I have something to say and, because life is short, I’m going to say it.

Thanks for reading.

Writing Tips (Part 1)

My recent staff reminders for our writers, bloggers, status updaters, and any other interested parties.

In everyday communication, text, chat, etc. no one really cares about this stuff. Half the time the mistake belongs to auto-correct. But if it’s going in print for others to read in any form of publication, make sure your writing is correct. Intentional rule breaking for the sake of voice and expression is one thing. Sloppy writing is another.

Your, You’re

“Your” is possessive.
That is your cage. It belongs to you. It’s yours.

“You’re” is a contraction and used in place of “you are.”

Tip: When you come across the words “your” and “you’re” while proofreading say the words “you are” to yourself to confirm the correct “your” is being used. IMAG4221_1

He likes your smile.
He likes you are smile.
Nope, that doesn’t make sense.

He likes you because you’re funny.
He likes you because you are funny.
Yep, that makes sense.

If you can substitute the words “you are” for your “you’re” then you’re using the correct “your.”

There, Their, They’re

THERE
Remember this: Where? Here or there?

To designate placement, look for the word “here” inside the word “there.” If you can logically sub “where” or “here” for “there” and the sentence still makes sense, you’re good.

He has too many fish in where?
He has too many fish in there.
He has too many fish in here.

Where is your order?
There is your order.
Here is your order.

THEIR

To show possession, use “their.” Notice the letter “i” and let it be your cue.

I don’t own it; it’s theirs.
I didn’t get a frog and this one is not yours so it must be theirs.
They own it, not I.

THEY’RE

“They’re” is a contraction, just like “you’re.” If you can’t sub the words “they are” then you are using the wrong “there.”

I don’t know what they’re thinking.
I don’t know what they are thinking.
Yep. That works. 

Then and Than

“Then” indicates progression.
First I fed the fish and then I rearranged the décor.

“Than” is used in comparison.
I’d rather have freshwater fish than saltwater fish.
My tank is bigger than yours.

Further verses Farther

“Further” is conceptual.
She made it further in life than anyone thought she could.

“Farther” is measurable.
He can throw it farther than his brother.

Accept and Except

“Accept” is in regard to “acceptance.”
“Except” is in regard to an “exception.”

I accept your proposal, except the part about the reduced wage.

Note the “ex” to EXclude the item and make it an EXception.

 

To, Too, and Two

Please give this to the cashier.

She needs a copy, too. (Tip to remember? Add a comma, add an O. Also or in additionadd an O)

That’s why we make two copies.

 

I know you didn’t pay attention in school because you never thought you’d need this stuff but I promise, it’s important. Bad writing can distract readers to the point of losing interest. It’s annoying. If your words are worth saying, they’re worth proofreading and editing.