Your Blog Needs Proofreading

I really just HAVE to take a moment out of my day, away from any of the topics I have been meaning to write about here, to wonder at the horrible grammar that permeates the internet. On personal blogs and websites, it seems to matter less. Sure it’s still annoying if you’re reading it–whether you know the person who posted the content, or you just happened to stumble across it–but if the text is still readable, you can look past small mistakes.

When it’s a big, popular website and the problem is obvious, that’s when I become so very confused.

Through an article I was reading I clicked on what is apparently one of the biggest fashion blogs in the world (although I’d never heard of it before), and upon reading the “about” page it became clear that if it was edited or proofread at all, the person responsible had no idea what they were doing.

I see this way more often than you might think. You probably see it too, although you might not notice. Blogs with large followings and professional company websites keep publishing content that’s either full of typos and grammar errors or just plain bad writing. This bothers me because it almost always makes me think, “My content is better.” Yet I have such a small viewership. My stats show what looks to me like a high number of followers, but in terms of the internet it’s miniscule, and my actual page views never come near the number of “followers” that are displayed. This tells me only that all the advice about how to get and keep an audience is only true to a certain extent. These tips can work, but they aren’t the only thing that gets you views, and there are other “secrets” that never appear in those lists of tips to boost your audience.

Basically, it’s often pretty freaking arbitrary.

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Perks!

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I just wanted to share this box of Latvian chocolate I was sent from a freelancing client. (In addition to being paid.) It was so sweet and completely unrequired of them, I really appreciated the thought. I have had ONE piece so far (this will last me a while) and this is good chocolate. Mmmmmm…

For those of you who might have trouble seeing, they’re shaped like roses.

I also finally finished reading the book I was in the middle of for two months. Now on to The Summer Book, which seemed like an appropriate book to read at the end of spring. And before you say it’s basically summer, actually, no, it’s still spring until later in June. Read your calendar.

I picked up The Summer Book  for $3 at the Brattle Book Shop. For more on that, take a look at this post from my other blog. And hey, I just found a New York Review of Books bookmark stuck in it! Bonus.

I still haven’t written anything… at all… with an actual narrative… for a pretty long time. I am rather sad about it and I’d like to say that I will be changing that soon, but… yeah, see my post about being that falling kitten.

In other, perhaps more relevant news, I started taking an online writing course… and decided not to finish it after two weeks. I got the feeling that I would not actually learn anything unless I spent a lot of time in the discussion forums. I had a lot of other things in my life that needed attention, and I wasn’t prepared to give up my free time to a pursuit that involved neither enjoyment nor official obligation. I tried, the class didn’t meet my needs, so I didn’t see a reason to continue. However, I still think that it would be good for me to have a structured writing platform. Or… some other word. See what’s happened to me?

Well, I hope you have some chocolate to enjoy. I’m going to sit around and dream of a chai latte.

Career? Development?

Both question marks are appropriate because I don’t even know…

 

Did I mention? My job was just made full time! Oh, right, I did mention it, in my piece about not being able to handle the recent events… But moving on from that, I have been promoted to full time, Editorial Associate, with a very nice pay increase to go along with it. My responsibilities will mostly remain the same, but the expectation both from me and the boss is that I’ll be able to complete more work each month. This is my second week, although only the first working all five days, as the T was not running last Friday… I already miss 4-day weeks. I feel like that sounds entitled or unnecessarily whiny, like “Oh poor you, complaining about having a full-time job when there are so many un/underemployed people.” Yeah, I know. I was one of them for 4 years after graduating from college, so…

I am also taking an online writing course. This is the first week, and I just looked into the first assignment last night, as I didn’t have that much time Monday or Tuesday. My first impressions are that this class might not offer any new skills to someone like me, who has a lot of experience with writing and literature. Some of the stuff they were talking about for this week’s assignment was so obvious to me that I wondered why they were bothering to explain it. However, my intention in signing up was to have deadlines and directed focus for writing, perhaps to remember skills I haven’t used for a while, and hopefully to kick-start my motivation. In addition, there will be a forum for getting peer feedback on writing, so I can be reminded of how to be more effective in my writing endeavors. It’s not a huge time commitment either, so I will find it at the very least something to do.

You know how sometimes, you’ll have a thought as you’re writing, but somehow it escapes you in the few seconds before you can put it down? That’s ridiculous, but it happens. It actually just happened as I came to the end of the last paragraph, and that thought is not coming back.

It’s not that I don’t have motivation now, by the way. No, the trouble is that I always feel motivated to write in the morning when I have to get ready/leave for work, or while I’m AT work, because my creative brain is perverse and cruel like that. When I really have the time and availability to write, I just don’t feel like it. I should, probably, get into the habit of forcing myself to open a word document and write. Or maybe do some pen-and-paper writing every day. The act of writing with a pen promotes creativity, you know.

A Little Levity

Some awesome rhyming/alliterative phrases I’ve come across in the past month or two while editing:

Classic Jurassic (we’re publishing a paleontology book. Why?… we’re still kind of wondering…)

Judicial officials

voluminous oeuvre (my favorite)

 

 

and I wish I had something more to say on this… I really wish I could share some of the typos that result in hilarious sentences, but that seems inappropriate. I’ll just have to enjoy them myself.

Near-Crisis

Today I had a moment of panic, similar to the experiences of many writers, I’m sure.

I had looked in every place I could think to look, and I still could not find the flash drive anywhere.

Most of the files on this flash drive are ones of which I have copies on my computer. The ones that aren’t, I wouldn’t be too sad to lose – EXCEPT for my book of myths, The Krishnaverse Through Their Mouths.

I would not have lost all of my work, as I have printed copies and the original files on my computer and external hard drive. However, as of now I’m fairly certain that the revised versions of the stories exist only on this particular flash drive.

After all of the time I spent editing the stories, improving them I can’t even say how much, I would be devastated to have to do it all over again. While a writer can remember basic plotlines and recreate them if necessary, I very much doubt I’d be able to replicate the language I spent so much time perfecting – that’s not to say that it’s perfect, but… well, some of it is. Perfect. And certainly some of the stories need a bit more work before they’re actually published, but they’re so much closer to finished in the revised versions than they were in the original, it’s almost astounding sometimes. I’ve been so proud of what this project has turned into, and to have all that work come to almost nothing would have hurt me.

I managed to avert catastrophe, however, so I suppose all is well. I searched the same places over and over, started crying in frustration, and finally found the flash drive on the floor behind a plastic shelving unit on wheels. I’m immensely relieved, but I can’t help thinking, “What if I hadn’t found it?” I don’t know what I would have done.

Helen Update

At last, a week later than desired, I feel like I’m starting to make actual progress on this story. I’m really digging in now. I’ve got it in my head. When I sit down at my computer I can write more than one sentence at a time. It feels good.

I forgot how much I dislike this “first draft” business. In some cases I do much preparation before writing, so that I won’t have to go back and edit in research and details. This time, I can tell that the story will be fleshed out quite a bit in the second draft stage. I suppose once I get used to the idea, I won’t think about it so much. For now it is a little distracting to think of how much will change later on. However, like many things I will push it out of my mind until I’m really truly focused on the writing alone.

If I keep up the current pace, I might finish Chapter 1 by the end of the weekend. I plan to post part or all of it, and I hope that I’ll get at least a few constructive comments… my biggest question for the chapter: do you get a sense of the character? (If you have to ask which character, you didn’t read very carefully.)

At the very least, I’m writing again, and enjoying it rather a lot.

In Progress

Here are two short story projects that have been sitting on the shelf (figuratively) for ages now.

1. Cleopatra’s Barge – a story about a young homeless woman. I’m now thinking that it should be split into two stories; one strictly abstract-ish, from the woman’s point of view, and the other in the style of reporting, explaining why she is homeless and written as if by someone observing her. A third-person omniscient. It wouldn’t be specified in the stories that they’re connected, but it would be fairly obvious to anyone who read both.

2. Creme Brulee – relating the narrator’s experiences with the dessert compared to her relationship (or lack of one) to a certain love interest.

One has a completed draft, but needs a lot of work before it can be allowed to see daylight again. The other barely has a page written, and also needs much work before there would be any point sharing it. I very much like the ideas of both of them (a good sign). Sound interesting?

Coming Soon: an author bio page. Look for it under “Pages.”