Everyone’s A Writer!
These days everyone is a writer.
It’s true. Blogging has made it so. Well . . . OK. Blogging
But there was truth to that statement long, long before the word
“blog” had been creatively coined by some techy who—as
it turns out—was also a writer.
Anyone who picked up a crayon, meticulously drew their names on
paper (or a wall) became a writer in that moment. When they chose
all caps to write it, they were making a style choice (more on that
later). And when they unknowingly reversed the letters in their
name, they were writing creatively.
Isn’t that fun! Knowing you are a writer, whatever work you
do to contribute to your family’s welfare? When people repeat
the cliché “I always wanted to be a writer,”
it usually doesn’t occur to them that they always were!
I began to think of myself as a writer in high school when I joined
my school’s journalism staff. That was one kind of writing
which I continued for a while in college and as a profession. Right
after that I worked as a publicist. I had to learn a new kind of
writing for that; I had to write press releases (which we now call
media releases), biographies, things like that. Then I began to
work for a magazine and had to learn another writing skill. Magazines
move much more slowly than newspapers, get more involved with rewrites
which I considered a little like slave labor.
Later in life I owned retail stores and I was a writer then, too.
I wrote copy for our store’s ads—both newspaper and
When I moved on to writing books, I relearned my craft with each
genre I wrote in. Novels. Short stories. Poetry. Even categories
within classifications. Writers need to know different skills for
writing romances than for writing, say, science fiction.
And through it all, I found it necessary to master—you guessed
it—the fine art of resume writing. And anyone who doesn’t
think that is a skill all its own and is out there trying to find
a job had better go back into learning mode!
And that brings me back to that “style choice” thing
I mentioned. Most of us were taught writing rules. Paragraphs must
be formed one way. Essays had a pattern that must be followed exactly
if we didn’t want to flunk our English classes. Spelling was
an exact science. And the rules of grammar. Well! We wouldn’t
even think of breaking those even though we often were completely
in the dark as to how to apply those rules, usually because our
teachers often didn’t know themselves. If you don’t
believe me, think about how the verbs “to lie” and “to
lay” confuse many folks.
And now we’re back to blogging. Everyone is doing it. So
wouldn’t it be a good idea to brush up on some of those “rules.?”
And wouldn’t it be nice to know we can break some of them?
Break them not only because there is no such thing as official blog
cops who will fine or incarcerate you if you get it wrong, but because
you really can break rules and sometimes should.
If an example is in order here, consider breaking the dreaded fragment
rule when you want to make a staccato-like point. In fact, to be
even more effective, write three short fragments in a row! Now,
didn’t that feel good?
Another rule I love to break is the one that says I must follow
the dictionary exactly and never write two words as one when it
tells us that they should be separated. No, no, no. Occasionally
pushing two words together can be a poetic choice. In fact, when
I’m writing poetry is when I usually decide to do that.
So, the point here is that blogging may be the motivation to go
back and review our grammar and spelling rules. But it may also
be a liberating force. Finally we get to think of ourselves as writers.
Writers who can make style choices. Writers who can make up words.
Writers who are free to be creative .
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn lists a Tidbit that will
help authors write or promote better. She will also include
a Tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected
books or a sapphire among the newly-published.)
of all stripes will enjoy the quick tips and the questions-and-answer
format of my blog, The
Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.. It includes tips on
wordiness and lots on style choices. And you can subscribe
so you don’t miss a single valuable tip on how to break
grammar rules. It is inspired by The Frugal
Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and
Ensure Success, available in both paperback and for
Tip for Readers' Tip:
I love June Casagrande’s book
Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies. It is irreverent
and reminds us how much fun grammar (and language in general)
could have been if only teachers had the freedom to teach
those topics as living, breathing entities—which they
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