I’m here to tell you that I break a ton of rules when I write. Do you want to know how I know this?
- I started submitting my writing to an editor. While I often can’t identify what exactly she changed, I can tell that it’s better after she sends back the edited copy.
- I’m married to a Grammar Nazi and he’s constantly correcting me when I say “less” rather than “fewer.” No soup for me! Obviously, if I’m committing grammar infractions in real life, I committing them in my writing, too.
- I installed Grammarly onto my Chrome browser.
Grammarly spell checks and grammar checks everything you write anywhere on the web. For instance, when you’re updating your status it will tell you if you use the wrong “to, too, or two” or maybe you’re more guilty of mixing up “there, they’re and their” or “your and you’re.”
Perhaps your grammar infractions have more to do with punctuation. Maybe you have a deep and abiding love for commas and tend to overuse them. Or maybe you hate them and it causes communication gaps in your writing. (I’ve seen the memes, people.) Or maybe you cannot for the life of you figure out whether the question mark belongs inside or outside the quotation marks.
Maybe you just don’t care. But from one girl to another, I think you should know that proper grammar matters if you don’t want to distract people from what you write. Whether it’s your Facebook status or a blog post, poor grammar can be a big turn off.
As a blogger there are now hundreds of blog posts attached to my name. Hundreds. I cannot even believe how many there are between this site and Middle Places, where I now fill a mostly editorial role. To go back and read some of my earlier blog posts is actually quite painful. I had such a desire to fit in, to say the right things and I loved words. So many words. And so many rabbit trails. And so many squirrels. And I’m sure in another three years I’ll be saying the same thing about what I’m writing today. I would be disappointed if I didn’t keep maturing and honing my skills as a writer.
Now … for the record, I’d like to take this one step farther and talk about editing your own work. Don’t just do a mass word vomit about your latest soapbox and hit publish, especially if you want to hit a hot or contraversial topic. Take the time to read your post again. And probably again. And again. And if you are writing from a place of emotion or agnst, sleep on it.
What should you watch for when you’re writing?
This is still something I’m learning. Since I don’t have all the answers, I’ll share a couple of great resources:
- From Boost Blog Traffic: I loved these ideas for how to edit your work to be more powerful and to clearly communicate your idea in “7 editing rules that will totally transform your next post.”
- My very wise friend Stephanie Gates of A Wide Mercy (I designed her site y’all! Isn’t it gorgeous and so very inviting?) wrote a post about how to change your blog from an online diary to a platform. If you’re struggling with this right now, go read her words over at Beyond Your Blog right now.
- Are you a storyteller? One of my friends shared a great post with me about the art of telling our stories and why it’s important to do so (by Josh Martin). And more importantly, it’s not so much about our stories as it is that we are conveying a worldview through our words that allows other people to identify with us or share their own experiences through that same worldview. His words were so powerful for me. They have become a guidepost in my own writing.
- One more thing from me. Always be willing to learn more. Always be willing to acknowledge that there’s room for your writing to improve. And always read your blog post one time after it publishes and before you share it on your social media channels. No matter how many times I have gone over the content of blog post, I always find an error after I hit publish.
***The Grammarly extension is free, but they do offer a premium service with loads more editing capabilities. You can try it out for a week for free (and yeah … that’s my referral link) by clicking here: