Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Put Your Best Blog Forward

No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect. ~ George Bernard Shaw

I spent a bit of time bloghopping yesterday (that's a shocker, I know) and started getting frustrated. Mostly, I read other writer's blogs and some reading/review blogs.

I'm not an English major, in fact I never even graduated college, but I do make every effort to write well, both in my stories and here at my blog. After all, it's what I do. And, I assume, when people who've never read any of my stories read this blog, they're going to judge my ability to write.

I know I do.

And therein, I run into the issue that perplexes me: writers who write poorly on their blog.

I know I make errors, and I've certainly had typos (though I try to catch them). Thankfully Blogger has spell check. But, it won't check for wrong word usage -- just like Word doesn't.

As a writer (and a teacher, considering I'm homeschooling my daughter), I make every effort to follow proper grammar guidelines and use correct words.

Passed vs. past
Led vs. lead
Whose vs. who's
Its vs. it's

I'm the first one to admit that I can NOT seem to remember, when using parentheses, where to put the blasted punctuation. I have Strunk & White, so I use it. The dictionary is online, as is the Chicago Manual of Style and there are dozens of sites that offer help for grammar problems.

IMHO, my blog is more than an online journal. It's proof of my ability to string words together and have them make sense.

Am I the only one who is put off by an author who continually uses poor grammar or spelling in their blog?

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BTW, regarding yesterday's blog post: Melissa, thanks for your book recommendations. I have read many of the traditional Harlequins and am usually underwhelmed. I can't find any Avalon books -- my library system doesn't carry them and they're too expensive to buy sight unseen. I haven't however, read any of your books (I admit to blushing a bit when I write that) -- which is your favorite?

Keep in mind, it isn't the sex in books that I mind. It just needs to be appropriate. I also prefer something that Nora Roberts does better than anyone -- the sex scenes to be wrapped up in deep emotion. You don't have to tell me where his hand is every minute, or bother with insert tab A into slot B. I know how it works.

Gah... I'm ranting again. I'll stop.

Don't forget to leave a comment and earn an entry in my BAFABW contest!

6 comments:

Allie Boniface said...

Well, as an English teacher, I definitely notice poor writing on blogs or websites.

And as a matter of fact, I will deliberately not buy an author's work or enter a contest or attend a conference, etc., if there are obvious typos or errors on the webpage (its vs. it's is a big one for me).

I mean, how am I supposed to respect a *writer* who can't use the language correctly?

Diane Craver said...

I've noticed misspelled words on writers' blogs. Since I have wordpress for my blog, I know it doesn't have spell check. If I'm in doubt of a correct spelling, I use my dictionary.

It bothers me that some writers use their/there incorrectly on their blogs. When I see mistakes, I do wonder if their books are well-written.

Great post!

anno said...

Well, I have to admit that I'm more likely to notice the speck in someone else's writing than the broken branch in my own, and I'm frequently mortified when I find glaring errors in my posts long after my favorite readers have come along. It just confirms my belief that everybody needs an editor.

That said, I find with a more intimate connection to the writer comes a more forgiving attitude on my part toward any errors they may make (hey, I just worked with a style guide that explicitly stated a preference for "they" in this case instead of "her or she"!). Typos and grammatical errors that in books or magazine articles would make me set them aside seem far less critical in blog posts or emails.

Finally, FWIW, Hemingway in The Moveable Feast complains rather noisily about F. Scott Fitzgerald's inability to spell (it took him years to master Hemingway's name, for example), claiming that Fitzgerald's unedited manuscripts made him appear completely illiterate.

That's all. I'll post on my own blog someday....

Melissa said...

Typos and what not don't bother me in blogs. They aren't books, just journals, diaries, slice of life stuff. I know I'm horrendous at grammar and spelling and sometimes it's all I can do to get a post up on a day so I don't worry about it. Occasionally I will spell check, but not always. If I tried to make it perfect, the way I do with the books, I'd never blog so there are usually mistakes. Comparing mistakes in a blog to what my be in a published book seems a bit silly to me. My books have cps, editors and copyeditors who make sure stuff like that gets fixed, plus me who reads every page outloud at least twice (once when originally submitted and again with page proofs.)

And don't blush if you haven't read a book! There are so many authors out there a person can't read all of them even if you know them. You'd go broke! Or spend all your time scouring libraries and UBS.

Oh, man. Fave book? That's like asking which is my fave kid. Each one is so different. I have light paranormal ones, heartwarming ones, adventure ones. My best friend doesn't like anyone of my books that isn't grounded in reality. Another friend only likes those that have a light touch of woo-woo. So it just depends. Right now, I'm partial to the one that comes out in December just because it's the one I'm closest too still and it was so much fun to write. I'm usually in library systems. See if they have any and read one of those. I know, I was no help at all:)

Marianne Arkins said...

I figured I'd be opening up a can of worms with this post. I've gotten comments here, and some offline emails that confirm this! LOL...

Keep in mind, I don't mind casual, chatty blogs. In fact, they're a lot of fun and they make me feel like I'm buddies with someone.

I just figure, if you're (not "your") a writer you'll know how to use the English language appropriately.

That's all.

Tori Lennox said...

This drives me kind of nuts, too. I try to proof my blog posts at least three times before I put them up for public consumption, but sometimes it's the FOURTH time I see it when I notice something wrong. :)