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



Filed under blog, blogger, blogging, writing

269 responses to “Try Writing

  1. I agree trying is important. Many “grammatical errors” are a matter of opinion and a matter of region (south, west, etc.) I still haven’t found “The Great American Novel”–although I do really like “As I lay Dying by Faulkner.” People weren’t always happy with him either. Keep going.

  2. I love the humility here almost as much as the optimism. Thanks!

  3. I feel certain that your critic has published a Great Novel since his helpful comments…not that I’d read it if I knew who he was. Such unhealthy sentiments, but I’m sure he is very happy. However, I will be reading more of your stories. I only stumbled across your blog recently, have thoroughly enjoyed the stories I’ve read so far, and there are many more – a treasure trove!

  4. This post may be my favorite! Yes- I love the aspect of trying. Writers have to acknowledge the fun and unexpected things that coming out of the process of writing. To look at someone’s thoughts and only see grammatical errors? That’s not a clever or witty response. That’s the mark of a person who does not yet understand the importance and meaning of what writing can do. Writing is a connection between people. It is fluid and always-changing. It’s not a stagnant sentence waiting to be deconstructed.

  5. Unathi K.

    Thank you for such an encouraging post. I will keep trying… I’m not even sure it’s grammatically correct to use ellipsis here but because I want to, I will. I love all your posts and I’m so glad your friend nudged you to blog.

  6. I was always an avid reader (taught myself how while I was still in the crib), and I started writing at a young age as well. I’ve only read several of your posts, but you clearly have a natural gift for writing. Your writing has a beautiful, poetic quality and connects emotionally with the reader.

    I also didn’t notice any glaring spelling or grammatical errors in your posts that I read. Most blogs that I read contain at least a couple, and some of them have errors so bad that sentences don’t even make sense. (Like maybe autocorrect did something crazy and the blogger didn’t re-read before posting.)

    Anyway, I think that you’d have a good shot at a regular column in a paper or magazine, or publishing a memoir(s). If that’s something you’re interested in, of course.

  7. Stuart, I love where you said writers come “preloaded.” That is exactly true, and I agree with everything you said here. Thanks for following me.

  8. What an inspirational post. Thanks for writing it.

  9. Lol! That was a funny exchange with him! And yes of course, you are right about writing! I love reading your writing. Will be back for more πŸ™‚

  10. I couldn’t help it, I laughed at the end “your writing contained two grammatical errors.” haha.
    You are on point.

  11. You put out a good message. There’s plenty of meanness and sarcasm to go around, and I just don’t feel the need or the desire to outwit these with basically more of the same. Putting out a thought you’ve had every now and then about something that has passed or is passing your mind, well, I like to do that and to read something about somebody else doing that, too. And, thanks, also, for picking up my blog!

  12. The writer of coffeechapter

    Hi, I’m from Bulgaria and I’m following your blog, not only to improve my English. And after that post I think that it’s might be good to know that the other reason is that I think you really have interesting opinion :).

  13. Robin King

    Without trying, nothing happens. Or, as an old friend used to say, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
    Wonderful post! πŸ™‚

  14. Would you mind very much if I re-blogged this too? – it fits very much with my own beliefs on writing and I’d like to add it to my ‘Writing’ category of encouraging tips/discussions.

    • I’m flattered for you to reblog any you like! I appreciate your encouragement. Thank you!

      • I have learnt not to post when I’m tired – it was late at night here when I re-blogged – so here is the added introduction that now goes with your post:

        ‘A piece on why we write from Stuart M. Perkins over at Storyshucker, a delightful blog that’s the complete embodiment of the writer’s mantra: every encounter, every experience we have, whether good, bad or indifferent – it’s all copy.’

  15. Yes! Grammar can be taught (or ironed out in editing) but the desire to write can’t. And ‘dull’ is subjective and does not define bad or good writing (I personally found George Eliot’s Middlemarch unbearably dull, but alas! ’tis considered a classic). People write for myriad reasons: to share, to entertain, to understand, to record, or because they are just compelled to write, and the list goes on and on. No one can say that any one has a less or more valid reason to write than anyone else.
    Kudos. x

  16. So why do I write?Because I want to.good one

  17. Nominated you for the three day quote challenge.You may check below my y first day quote for instructions if you are not familiar with how it goes.

  18. Thanks! We will keep trying!!

  19. Loved this! I was always more interested in the point and what it can teach me than in grammar.

  20. I went on this site today and blogged about blogging. It is my “trying” now that someone encouraged me. Immediately I read from your blog and found this one. How serendipitous! I always liked reading your blogs and enjoy the chuckles they give. Keep at it, and also the encouragement. People who discourage are: well, discouraging! (Party Poopers).

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