83,168 Mistakes Every Writer Makes

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Some of you have already benefited from 1 Foolproof Way To Become a Better Writer because you read it and immediately followed the exceptional wisdom contained within, or is it because you ignored it all.

When you are an ancient man (just ask my almost 10 year old) you can’t always remember what you have said but you never forget that the point is not mute unless you are like me and you name your dog Point just to prove people wrong.

I am the man who said that he wants to burn every copy of this article on how to become a better writer because it is awful.

Why? Because five seconds into it this is what I thought:

The author of the article could have made her piece stronger by eliminating the first two sentences. Or alternatively she could have eliminated “As” and “famously” which would have retained the Mark Twain quote while more closely following his advice.

Fight The Tyranny of Writing Authorities

It is time to fight the tyranny of writing authorities  who seek to destroy our voices as writers because they don’t understand the difference between editing for style and for content.

It is time stop the injustice of people who don’t know how to help you become a better writer but camouflage their lack of knowledge in the cold embrace of word counts and grammatical rules.

Blog posts and stories should be as long as it takes to tell the story. Ancient men like myself are ready to do battle with the persnickety, frumpy and uptight word tightwads who don’t understand this.

We are ready to go to war to use colorful words because sometimes those words are best suited for the post or story. Yes, I am talking about cursing and no I am not talking about cursing for the sake of cursing.

A good tale is easily understood and shouldn’t be used by the writer to prove their vocabulary is enormous. It is not about how big it is but what you can do with it.

Good Writing Is Subjective

Good writing is subjective. Proof isn’t found on best seller lists or because you won some silly blogging popularity contest either. Nor is it based upon your ability to pound out an error free essay. Some of those error free essays are the finest cures for insomnia you have ever slept through.

Don’t misunderstand my position to suggest that you shouldn’t try to expand your vocabulary because you should. Sometimes colorful language is necessary because it is the spice in the soup you are cooking. Sometimes the best way to make your post sizzle is to write about the truculent poltroons and their vacuous minds.

And sometimes it is best to use the kind of colorful language that you might find on the bathroom wall.

A thousand years ago when I was on my college newspaper several of us went out for drinks and had a long conversation about how to write fiction from the perspective of the opposite gender.

Two of the women almost had a fist fight about whether it was authentic for the female character to tell her boyfriend “I want you to fuck me” or if she should say “I want you to make love to me.”

Why?

The woman who argued for it said she would never sleep with a guy she couldn’t be honest with and the other said she would never sleep with one who thought of her that way.

While I am fearless and unfiltered I chose not to offer an opinion or perspective because that was a fight I didn’t want any part of.

But the point here is that what you love may not be loved by others. Google authors insulting other authors or some variation and you’ll find ample examples of authors belittling the work of other authors.

William Faulkner on Ernest Hemingway:
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Ernest Hemingway on William Faulkner:
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

83,168 Mistakes Every Writer Makes

83,168 Mistakes Every Writer Makes is a goofy headline but if you are reading these words it is because that headline brought you here or you are in love with me. Could be both.

On a serious note, the most consistent feedback I receive about why some people find blogging to be difficult is their fear of writing. That fear is rooted in not producing meaningful and significant content.

My advice is the same for them as it is for my children. Stop worrying about whether it is good and start working. You cannot become a better writer without practicing and that means putting your pen to paper.

And it means learning how to tune out the thousands of know-it-alls who tell you what makes good writing.  Sometimes you just have to write.

What do you think?

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2 Comments

  1. TheJackB April 30, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Faryna  You don’t give yourself enough credit. Who really “knows” much about anything.

  2. Faryna April 29, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Write what you know and, yes, that may speak to souls. The greatest challenge for me, however, is that I know so little about the things that matter most. That I am not alone in my confusions and ignorance is no consolation, but I wish it were. A consolation. [grin]

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