Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A few lessons that I have learned in writing

I can't decide which one of two directions to start this blog post. That in and of itself may prove the ultimate point of the post in the end.

Hold on boys and girls because I feel a ramble coming on.

It's not unusual for people to tell me, "you should write a book."

My reaction is one of these:

  1. No.
  2. Why?
  3. I don't want to.
First of all, what do I have to write about? If you've followed this blog for more than a week, you know I have absolutely nothing to write about. 

Speaking of reading this blog, you would probably surmise that I'm not much of a writer. At least, I wouldn't. 

The thing is, I may be an ok writer, but I don't really enjoy it. I'm slow at writing. I don't have patience. I don't enjoy reading my own writing. That's why I don't read over and proof my posts. I'm sure you've noticed that too. 

However, I got to thinking today about what lessons that I have learned about writing. There's a couple of reasons I got on this train of thought.

Last week, one of my high school teachers posted on Facebook about visiting another teacher, my English teach for three out of four years. I had been wondering about her for a while since I had heard years ago that she had a stroke and moved to be closer to family. The teacher that made the post shared her address, so I decided to send my English teacher, a legend among anyone that had her, a note. 

In the note, I included that now I write and edit press kits for a living. The one thing that has stuck with me the longest is that we were not, under any condition, allowed to use contractions in any of our papers. We would have points taken off for every apostrophe in our paper that was not used with a possessive. I used to never use them in emails. I would start typing them and backspace to correct myself. I have noticed how many I have used in this blog post, so obviously, if I am not thinking about it, I will include them. However, in press kits, I still won't use them. I mean I will not use them. ;)

I was making edits in interview questions that Christine wrote yesterday. I'm not telling this to throw her under the bus or to criticize her in the least, but I will tell share two things I catch on her kits. The reason I catch these two things now is because I got busted on the enough over time.

When I worked at my last job, I worked withe same proofer for almost 10 years. While I didn't write much, I did edit, and I did look over her proofing changes. Ashlea always really watched out for repetitive phrases and repeated words. She was always pointing that out, so I really started watching for the same thing and use the thesaurus function in Microsoft Word a lot. I could use a better app.

The other thing I really have to watch is using the word "that."  In this post, I have used the word 15 times and once in the post title. Obviously, I have not learned the lesson well. Most of the time, it is not needed. It is in several instances of this post, but certainly not in the title. I have Caitlin who proofs my work now for THAT. ;)

I try to watch it, I really do!

Those three things are all I have to share. That's it. See? For those reasons alone, I'll never write a book. 

No comments: