Try Writing

“Thousands of people who write believe they are better than thousands of others. They believe they will pen the next great American novel but their writing is dull and full of grammatical errors. Why do they write anything intended to be read by the public? Why do they write?”

I read those lines and was impelled to respond. The blogger’s entire post was arrogant and sarcastic, but those lines were the cherries on top. After I acknowledged that he can post what he likes on his own blog, I then asked if rather than squelch ambitions with a negative message about imperfection, he could instead applaud people for their attempts, for our attempts because I am one of the imperfect. But, we still try.

I don’t necessarily like being serious because, well, it’s not funny. I love a little arrogance and sarcasm as much as anyone, maybe more than anyone, but his post was nasty at its core, humorless and discouraging.

For me, playing with words to form sentences in an attempt to evoke anything from laughter to sadness in a reader is “magical”, and I rarely use that word. Writing is simply another way to make thoughts available to a reader. I don’t believe I will pen the next great American novel, “dull” writing is subjective, and I am certain I end up with grammatical errors in my writing. But, I still try.

I started blogging less than a year ago and up to that point had hardly read one, much less considered writing one. With encouragement from a good friend, I gave it a start. As an adult I’ve never taken a writing class and in high school English I was at best mediocre. So why do I write? Because I want to. That should be answer enough for the judgmental blogger.

When I have thoughts to express, nothing stops the freight train of desire to write them down. I imagine everyone who writes experiences the same at their own levels. If one’s writing could use some pep or have the grammar refined a bit, those things can be remedied. Writers can learn to amp up their styles and they can become more familiar with grammatical rules. Those things can be learned. What can’t be taught is desire. People who need to write come pre-loaded with the desire to try. And so we write.

I sent my comments to the blogger expecting to hear nothing back really. I simply felt the need to counter a little of his discouragement. That freight train of desire to write my response just couldn’t be stopped! In less than an hour he replied. I hesitated for a second to read what he’d written, but the optimist in me thought why not, it could be he’s given some of his overly critical attitude a second thought! I clicked on his response and read the one line from him:

“Your comments contained two grammatical errors.”

He didn’t even tell me what they were!

It didn’t really matter that he’d paid no attention to the point I’d hoped to get across.

But, I tried.

Stuart M. Perkins

269 Comments

Filed under blog, blogger, blogging, writing

269 responses to “Try Writing

  1. KP

    Thanks for your visit, Stuart.
    None of us create the perfect piece first time. It is only with practice that we can improve; and that is a life-long commitment. It helps when our readers give us honest, and constructive feedback, and they can only do that if we ‘get it out there’ to read.

  2. Excellent post! On a different but similar note, I am a designer but have always been self-conscious about my drawing skills (thank God for architectural illustrators). I have recently been inspired to take drawing classes.

    I was nervous at first because one of the 5 students in this class is a retired partner from the architectural firm I used to work for years ago (this was intimidating because he is such a great architect and I couldn’t draw well). I found though, that we are all there for our own reasons and by encouraging each other we are able to express ourselves much better than if we are concerned about how others might judge us. It turns out that I can draw, I just need to “try” (and practice). As our instructor says, “keep drawing”.

    So, all, “keep writing” (period).

    • Stacey, Thank you. Not only keep writing but keep expressing and keep encouraging. With thanks to Stuart whose response to someone who is in the prison of form – and in pain about it to be so negative towards others – has brought forth such expressions here. The key is in writing we are communicating which is a form of communing or being together as humans. Yes, keep writing and keep encouraging other fellow humans in all the forms that flow from your unique brilliance. Noel

  3. Well done you! You are right on all counts; we write because we enjoy it and I have only just started blogging because I know I will never be published but this way, I can share my thoughts and experiences with like minded people; published or not. Perfect or not. I am glad that you have not been discouraged and I think that the man was wrong; most writers (including me) think that other writers are BETTER than them.

  4. Thanks for liking my blog. I write to cheer myself up and hope amuse others at the same time. I write, tongue in cheek, as I think life can get boring, over the top, depressing and I write to dispel my moods. I know I liberally strew my work with commas, brackets etc. but that is how I think. The blogger you mentioned made me smile, a bit full of himself, isn’t he? Constructive criticism is one thing but comments like that , pst. My tutor , on reading my essay I had laboured over wrote just one word – ‘REALLY?’ This didn’t help though I told my children , it meant he was amazed at my prose.

  5. Dear Mr. Storyshucker. Haven’t heard from you lately. Is your last story “Try Writing?” Or have I somehow been missing something?

  6. I had to laugh at his comment. Don’t get me wrong, he was being a jerk, but it just tickled my funny bone. If I had gotten that response, I would have shown it to all my friends and laughed about it. Because the joke’s on him. People like him have to be unhappy. So we should feel good because we can laugh at his arrogance.

    I know, my sense of humor is probably kind of strange if I found that funny. But don’t we writers have strange senses of humor? That’s what makes us interesting, right? πŸ™‚

  7. thegumiho777

    I love this post because that no one can how to want to do something. But I did want say a little something about writing classes…

    As far as my experience goes, there is not a single thing I learned in a writing class that some inexpensive book on amazon did not explain better.Maybe other students learned better with reading old literature books and stories I’ve never heard of in my life, but it definitely don’t feel bad about never talking any. In my opinion, the only real plus is that you sit in a room with other writers who give you feedback.

    But learning about writing itself? Believe me. You aren’t missing out on anything other than extra body heat. :9

  8. Ugh! Just ugh! We write because for writers it’s like breathing, it’s essential to our survival. As an educator, I’ve encountered “those” people before. I’ve watched them traumatize and demoralize young talents. Some people exist to build themselves up by tearing others down. Ignore them. Ignore their hate. You’re a writer! Write on!

  9. When it comes to grammar errors, I am always reminded of the evolution of the English language: http://ideas.ted.com/2014/07/24/when-shakespeare-committed-word-crimes/

  10. Yikes, what a tool. Great post. I think a lot of people have something creative, something waiting to be birthed, inside of them (and I’m not talking about babies)… and it’s very easy in this world to do everything else–clean the refrigerator, hang the marlin, eat a chocolate cake–rather than sit down and try to get it out. Everyone who does–including everyone who blogs–is getting this inner beauty out, and they should be commended and celebrated. Grammar is such small potatoes against all this…

  11. No worries, honestly desire is the reason most writers become well known, not because they were “grammatically” correct. Enjoy writing and have fun!

  12. Thank you for coming by to visit my blog and reading “oh, Little Butterfly”, like you I am just another writer, who is trying. I enjoyed this blog immensely.
    Only thing I would say is that constructive criticism on the use of grammar or other errors can be very effective, as long as they are sprinkled with a large dose of encouragement.

  13. geekylola

    Some people just don’t understand the need to write. Some people just don’t understand the need to create but all we can do is try and take pride in the fact that we don’t stop trying.

  14. I came across your blog after you liked my post. I loved what you have written here. Although I have been a lifelong writer, I am just starting a blog so I can relate to your situation. As I move forward on this journey, I must always remember that it is the desire and the sheer joy of writing itself which drives me. Great post.

  15. Thanks Stuart for all the great post and congrats to your blog award! Unlike you, I am a horrible writer, but I do enjoy writing. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  16. Love this post–thanks for putting into words what so many of us think when we run across a “negative Nellie” when in reference to writing! Love reading posts with humor. And thanks for liking my post.

  17. I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a year. I’m new to your blog and so far every post is a gem. I see a lot of common ground here and in the comments that are being posted.

    I will be a teeny fly in the ointment, though, on one point: Grammar.

    I did not read the original diatribe from the pedantic blogger. If he was on about things like the Oxford comma, whether to hyphenate compound words or not, then fi on him. He needs to read some of the good, modern grammarians β€” who are funny and flexible. Since his reply to your well-thought (well thought?) comment was that you had two, unidentified grammatical mistakes then that rather shows his stripes.

    However, if he was on about the bloogers who can’t bother to turn on a spell checker, who take no care in the readability of their posts (walls of text and the like on Pollock-like backgrounds), then yes, yes and more yes. If someone is writing to a general audience and insists, without irony, in leetspeak and AOLtalk then they deserve derision. If, in their important ennui they do not have enough energy to hit the shift button to make it I instead of i, then pppth on them.

    Other than that, I have enough self-doubt and nerves about writing that I don’t need wankers like the one you encountered to cross my path. πŸ™‚

  18. Murphy’s Law of deriding people about spell check: I see I typed bloogers (LoL!) instead of bloggers. It never fails.

  19. lisa

    Your writing brings wit and joy to thousands. Don’t let anyone discourage you.

  20. Writing is an self-expression and we all have our own way of expressing, and that flavor needs to be maintained and sustained, otherwise the art of writing will loose it’s charm…Happy Writing!!!

  21. Sunny Peter

    Loved this post. Wonder how I could reblog this post onto my Blog. Please let me know, I would love to.

  22. Sunny Peter

    Reblogged this on Musings and Meanderings and commented:
    A great post for anyone who does not have the confidence to write, just like me.

  23. Sunny Peter

    Hi Stuart, I have Reblogged this post. I found the Reblog button on the Reader. I was looking for it on your website earlier, that’s why I could not figure it out. Thanks.

  24. That is interesting.As you say, grammar can be rectified but being good at grammar and spelling does not make one creative.
    I did once write a comment on a blog where there is comment moderations saying the person should delete after reading what I wrote which was she had used a wrong word… limitations, instead of limits…
    Instead she published the comment and attacked my grammar so I thought I shan’t do that again…

  25. What a treat it’s been to visit here, and a stellar post. Seems to still be hitting home with lots of readers and rightly so. That kind of arrogance deflates others. Creativity isn’t perfection. Creativity is about ideas, expression, being raw. What a barrel of laughs that blogger must be ;).

  26. Let’s keep reading blogs of those who care to encourage and send loving-kindness and as to that a hole who wrote that, well i hope his blog rots in hell…just kidding…maybe he can get help for his mental illness called a destroyed excuse for a human being.

  27. June Brown

    I’m a freelance proof reader. If it were not for the error ridden work I get to proof, I wouldn’t eat!

  28. I’d just like to say, I’m a writer and I DON’T believe I will pen the next great American novel, perhaps because I’m English…

  29. Pingback: I β™₯ Grammer | wtf Am I On About Now?

  30. timespacegroveller

    Robin: You can’t get away from Batman that easy!
    Batman: Easily.
    Robin: Easily.
    Batman: Good grammar is essential, Robin.
    Robin: Thank you.
    Batman: You’re welcome.

  31. Ah, Trolls! They live to discourage us and love to pick at the nits. I was a public school teacher of the breed known as “English teacher” for 31 years. I have seen tons upon tons of poorly written rotten writing with grammatical errors everywhere. If that is all you look for, you will never get out of other people’s writing the wonder and treasure to be had there. Even the most pathetically illiterate students gave me writing that was trying to convey something from their hearts. If I had been obsessing with the red correcting pen, I would’ve missed all that beauty, all that magnificence, all that love. Even the dull and unintelligent have something to say worth hearing… well, except for the trolls. They have taught themselves to look at nothing but the wrong thing.

  32. Thanks. Everyone has something to say that will touch someone else. Get it out there.

  33. Peg Richards

    Atta boy, Stuart! Keep on writing. After all, to quote one great storyshucker, “Who’s it gonna hoight?” πŸ˜‰ You’ve blessed me today by visiting my blog.

  34. Kerry Wanamaker

    Love it! If we struggle over commas and grammar – sometimes emotion and flow can be lost. Also, our voice can be lost… This is something I am learning and reminding myself of.

  35. I liked your blog post very much. And I have two words for Mr. Boring: Lighten Up. He’s obviously having no fun and probably very little chocolate.
    Keep on truckin’ sir (Stuart)–you got the juice and are more important than you know.

  36. I wouldn’t blame your blogger. The more you learn the techniques of writing, the less you feel like doing so. The virtue of ignorance is sometimes overlooked! Have a great day!

  37. Interesting stuff, Stuart. You can teach grammar, but you can’t teach inspiration. I would much rather read a piece of writing that’s new and that touches me, than something well-punctuated but soulless. Thanks for visiting my acting blog, by the way; writing and acting have so much in common – and they need each other!

  38. Unbeleivable. Makes me want to coment on his blahg and include as many grammatical errors as I can. Thanks for sharing the experience and sticking up for us writers!

  39. munchinchocolates

    “I write because I want to.”

    Indeed…

    Thank you!

  40. Being a writer gives you the freedom to break language rules. And by doing so you are letting language evolve…which is a good thing. If our stone age ancestors had been “Grammar Nazi’s, like the arrogant blogger, we will be living in skyscrapers and communicating in monosyllables.

  41. Writing is a wonderful art and craft, I’ll keep at it forever.

  42. Hi, I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve read a lot on others’ views on proper grammar and what really makes a “writer”, and I must say that some of it is insulting; especially for those of us who don’t plan to write the next novel but are simply just bloggers. Knowing proper grammar is always a plus, but I don’t think it is always necessary. Sometimes phrases or sentences are written in such a way to convey a certain message or emotion to its reader – and for the writer – that might mean that they don’t follow the use of proper grammar; just grammar that is easily understood or read in the way that it is intended to be read. Depending on how it’s written I think it can add character to a text. I’m no expert but this is just my personal opinion. Anyway, thanks for sharing. This is an interesting read. πŸ™‚

  43. YOGiNi

    Oh thanks much for this one. I’m ‘trying’ and ‘learning’ to write – this encourages me πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I write because it makes me happy and will continue to do so.
    Cheers,
    YOGiNi

  44. I agree. I write because I need to, my inner voice becomes my external meaning. Writing and creativity is all down to perception and individual interpretation. To write for oneself is simple, but to convey that to an audience is much more complex. It adds anxiety and insecurity, self questioning and ambivalence. To write from within is strong, brave and victorious. The written word becomes so much more if emotion underlines it πŸ™‚

  45. Well said Sir! I am Trying too πŸ™‚ Not only the pleasure of expressing my thoughts and feelings, but also coming across such good people like you, is what I love about blogging. Thank you for encouraging me πŸ™‚ Bless you πŸ™‚

  46. Reblogged this on fading to…WHITE and commented:
    I met you shortly after you first started blogging. I, too, was new to it…Rubble2Bubble…remember?

    Well, I’m back again. My writing and editing has improved a “smidge” – though I’m guilty of just tossing out old stuff all over again.

    I want this on my blog, because it’s a Thought Hug we share. You just say it so much better than I ever could.

  47. You should never take jabs or be sarcastic, which is but a form of superiority, over someone else’s writing. There wouldn’t be editors if they weren’t needed. No one knows what somebody else’s background, experience, and education is in. You write because you have something to say, a voice that must be heard, a soul that must quenched from the burning desire to create. To ridicule the creator and hush the voice of wisdom to make yourself look big and powerful and a know-it-all shows only that you are weak, a coward, hiding behind rigid accusations. I meekly must tell you I am an editor, by trade, by career, by education, but I know how to give of my skills lovingly without asserting blame or embarrassing anyone. Let the thoughts and feelings of the writer shine through. I am an editor to support your writing and your work, never to degrade it. The worst editor and proofreader is yourself. You miss all the little typos, rules of grammar, words left out or left in, because engrained in your organic brain is what you wrote, what you said. The eye cannot see what is on the page.. The eyes see only what is in the brain, reading right over errors, glitches, missed or wrong words. Share your writing with those who need to hear your message and your story. Let an editor, who knows her place and her function, make your writing great! It is a team.

  48. michaelnjohns

    237 responses and counting. I would say this post must have struck a nerve in the writing community. Wow. I’m still a happy follower of all your posts.

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