Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The company you keep

I spend far too much time reading other writers' blogs. I don't know what I'm looking for, but I do know what I've found.

I've found that some successful writers--successful meaning regularly published--aren't particularly good writers. Their blogs are filled with typos, grammatical errors, spelling errors, and misused words. One writer at a group blog I follow is so bad that I actually pity her copyeditors. She must be one hell of a storyteller to compensate for her poor writing skills.

Am I being too harsh? Is she just bashing out her blog posts first draft with nary a moment taken to proofread what she's typed but actually turns in clean copy for her paying gigs?

Maybe so.

But I think writers are known by the company they keep, and the company writers keep are words. If your blog posts are consistently sloppy, you might be better off not posting at all rather than demonstrating to the world that you lack basic writing skills.

Words are the company you keep. Use them well.


sandra seamans said...

I've found this same thing with online zines. If the editor can't spell or write his guidelines without mistakes, what is he going to do with my story?

One zine I came across two years ago put out an anthology call this past week - when I checked out the site, I found the same mistake still there. She lives on her coach with her laptop and cat.

As for blogs, I find myself checking for mistakes constantly. If I get in too big of a hurry to post, I'll probably be editing at least half a dozen times through the day.

Michael Bracken said...

I even go back and reread old posts, Sandra, correcting errors I made weeks earlier.

Anonymous said...

I don't find the odd typo a problem because blogs are, by nature, a fairly quick form of writing and very few people are going to spend hours editing a single post. That said, continuous and numerous errors that actually hinder reading tend to send me looking for the back button and searching for a different blog to read.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Michael Bracken said...

You're right, Cassandra. An occasional typo can be forgiven. But blatant disregard for the English language? Not so much.