Don't Join The Sloppy Writer Brigade

Writing is one thing, but preparing your writing for readers is another.

With so many writers now being given the wonderful opportunity to publish their work, there are many who are either sloppy and lazy or are lacking in the grammatical and orthographic fundamentals necessary to write well.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a poem, a short story or a blog post, accuracy is essential. Whether it be for print or for Internet posting, the same care and effort should be taken to ensure that a writer presents them self as competent.

Of course it’s easy to say that writers should use an editor or reliable proofreader, but in reality, much of what a writer writes does not warrant these services. For a well-presented writer’s blog, poetry submissions to websites or short stories published online, it is the writer who needs to take responsibility and check their work meticulously.

This means reading, checking and double checking before any text goes out. If a writer relies purely on a spellchecker, the results will be extremely poor. Spellcheckers just cannot find the errors that ruin a piece of writing. The classic errors of their, there, they’re or its, it’s or has, had, will never be found. Most word processors also have auto text. This tool is a sure fire way to let your computer make mistakes on your behalf and I would always suggest turning it off.

Another deadly tool is cut and paste. During the writing process, it’s a handy tool, but it is also an easy way to make errors. I have seen so many errors with verb agreement and singular and plurals that were clearly a result of this. By all means use cut, copy and paste but make sure you check carefully when proofreading.

Lastly though is that writers take pride in what they produce. Of course, there will be the odd error that slips through, but a good competent writer will keep these to an absolute minimum. A good writer will also feel extremely annoyed with themselves when these errors or typos escape because they take great pride in the quality of their writing.

There is no doubt that the advent of self-publishing has allowed anyone to become a writer. Unfortunately, there are many who are publishing sub-standard material. Or even worse. The way to stand out and rise above this is, of course, to write well, but also to be meticulous in the way texts are checked, double-checked and triple-checked.

Don’t be a sloppy writer.

Don’t Join The Sloppy Writer Brigade
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19 thoughts on “Don’t Join The Sloppy Writer Brigade

  • 16/02/2012 at 3:25 pm
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    Well said! I harp on this with so many different writers in my circle, from the weekly writers group to students to blog friends.

    Yes, punctuation and spelling and grammar and word choice matter. We write to communicate; why sabotage ourselves by making our communication ineffective?

    Thanks –

  • 16/02/2012 at 3:28 pm
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    This is very true i like to write as i think or what suits what i am writing about the grammer can be different at any one time. I am my own worse critic.

    • 16/02/2012 at 4:04 pm
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      Well Bernie, I hope your comment was intended as a pun on classical errors! If not, well, um?

  • 16/02/2012 at 3:48 pm
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    No offence Bernie, but “This is very true i like to write as i think or what suits what i am writing about the grammer can be different at any one time.” is a classic case in point. LOL :)

    • 16/02/2012 at 5:16 pm
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      Way to go, Jack, in the spirit of Derek’s article!

  • 16/02/2012 at 4:10 pm
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    I have taken a break from reading Kindle self publishers because of this reason. I am trying to improve my writing skills and I find there are so many errors in recent books that I find myself becoming immuned! That scared me enough to go back to reading well written books for a while!

    • 16/02/2012 at 4:23 pm
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      I well understand Mary. It drives one to distraction and ruins what sometimes is a very good story.

      But I’m going to be the patrolling grammar cop (probably with Jack as my sidekick!) on this thread now, so I have to correct you. I know YOU know this is great fun for me. :))

      Immune not immuned. Immune is an adjective so needs no transformation. It’s only verbs that usually carry ‘ed’ when being formed into an adjective. Therefore you could use the verb immunise and add ‘ed’ to form an adjective in your sentence. Oh yes, use a z in US spelling! lol

  • 16/02/2012 at 4:56 pm
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    I absolutely agree with your post. Although as a small publisher we always have all manuscripts professionally edited, as you mentioned, that is not possible for everyone. This is especially true when so many people are blogging, writing articles or sending out ezines. But the bottom line is that whenever you write something, it is a reflection on you (and your business). If you can’t take the few extra minutes to re-read what you wrote (with spelling/grammar and flow in mind) then you will lose potential readers, clients or customers!

    (and I have to think that Bernie Jenkins was writing tongue in cheek…)

    Candace Davenport
    http://www.ourlittlebooks.com ~ Little Books with a Big Message

  • 16/02/2012 at 5:07 pm
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    Thank you for the correction Derek! I know YOU know I truly appreciate it!
    I welcome constructive critisism on any of my writing. :)))))

    • 16/02/2012 at 5:47 pm
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      Oh dear – critisism – really MRC? Try criticism. lol ;)

      • 16/02/2012 at 5:52 pm
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        Don’t pick on Mary too much Jack.

        It’s probably the fault of her beautiful iPad.

        For some reason, iPads have a mind of their own when it comes to text. It drives me nuts on mine with its ‘Nazi Nanny’ auto correct. So much so that I am very wary about using it for any text entry. I don’t know how many times it has embarrassed me!

  • 16/02/2012 at 9:11 pm
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    Hi Derek. Good post. I know exactly what you are referring to. It doesn’t just happen with the Kindle self publishers (and by the way MRC, I am a Kindle self publisher and I am meticulous when it comes to grammar, spelling and other aspects that make a story “well written”).

    I don’t know how many times I have read inexpensive novels (usually on sale at your local department store’s book section) that contain loads of errors and shake me head at the fact that they weren’t caught by the author OR the editor.

    Well written and I hope lots of writers take the time to read this. I’m going to retweet you a few times as well.

    • 16/02/2012 at 9:21 pm
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      Good points Wendy.

      If I draw the two together, I think it’s the rush to publish that causes a lot of the problems. Both with self publishers and traditional publishers of ‘airport grade’ novels.

      Good proofreading and line editing just can’t be rushed.

  • 17/02/2012 at 1:25 am
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    I apologize for lumping all Kindle self publishers together Wendy. I should have said it was the recent books I read by Kindle self publishers. It was one after another and it just overwhelmed me with so many mistakes.

    I’m sure you are meticulous. I’m off to visit your blog :)

    My iPad has me p- a- r-a-n-o-i-d !!!!!!!

    • 17/02/2012 at 2:02 am
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      Thank you very much. I wasn’t really offended because I know what you are talking about. In fact, I think it was after my third or fourth poorly written book last year that I said to myself, “This really stinks. I could write a better book!” lol

      And thanks for the Blog visit. Please be aware that I am very new (new in this entire writing world actually) to blogging and I’m still learning the ropes. I am writing 2 new books right now and I don’t have a whole lot of time for my blog although I’m trying to post something new once a week. :)

      Sorry if I’m taking over your comments Derek. Or maybe that was my plan all along? hahaha :P

  • 17/02/2012 at 5:22 am
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    I am relatively new to writing too Wendy! Glad you understood what I meant to say.
    Now that your link is available I will check it out!

    Derek is so cool, he will have a very clever reply to your concern of overtaking his comments :).

    Keep writing! All we can do is improve :)))))

  • 17/02/2012 at 5:37 am
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    Wendy, I just sent you an email after visiting your blog. :)

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