Thursday, January 26, 2012

Words of Wisdom from an Embarrassed Writer


This last year I applied to the 2012 Youth Editorial Board in my community and got in. Basically this all entails writing an editorial for the local paper every two months.

I just had a brain wave, and it will bother me until I act on it. I'm going to pop over to dictionary.com and look up the definition of editorial. Obviously I know the general idea, but I'm curious as to the exact meaning and now that I got that image credit idea in your head you probably are too! And if you're not well... too bad.

Alright, here it is!

ed·i·to·ri·al   [ed-i-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr-] noun
1.
an article in a newspaper or other periodical presenting the opinion of the publisher, editor, or editors.
2.
a statement broadcast on radio or television that presents the opinion of the owner, manager, or the like, of the station or channel.
3.
something regarded as resembling such an article or statement, as a lengthy, dogmatic utterance.


Ha, that last one made me chuckle; "a lengthy, dogmatic utterance". ANYWAYS, the point of telling you that I'm on this board:

I wrote my very first editorial (in the busiest time of the semester, of course) last week and it was published yesterday. As exciting and not to mention nerve-racking as it was to have my teachers and fellow co-workers congratulate me, one teacher had a tiny comment that had me eating humble pie. She said something like this:

"I really liked what you had to say, but next time you need to proof read a little bit better. You mixed up your then and than."

Thank goodness, it was over the phone because I my cheeks were on fire. I mumbled something in agreement then quickly changed to the topic back to the original reason of the call.

I didn't comb over the article with a fine tooth comb, because a)I just figured that the editor of the opinion pages would take care of the final edits that I might have missed, and b) I had a couple other people go over it and point out mistakes; I fixed the ones they pointed out. Clearly I was wrong. So what have I gleamed from this although minor, but unfortunate incident was this:

1. Edit your own work before getting critique
2. Get critique from other people both on content and mechanics (preferably ones that have some knowledge of grammar)
3. Edit your own work at least three more times, and by edit I don't mean revise, I mean look for grammar or spelling errors that may have been missed

Basically what I have learned is don't depend on others to polish your work, and don't assume that no red or green squiggles equals no errors.

How about you? Have you had any embarrassing grammar/spelling errors?


P.S. Thanks to K.D. Storm for awarding me the Liebster Blog Award!
I've done this once before here, but here's five more blogs for your reading enjoyment!
Whisperings of the Pen, Literally YA. Actually I'm only going to do two, because my ear is killing me and I can't think of anymore at the current moment, but you're welcome to check out the other one's I've posted about before.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A thought...


I recently discovered Writer's Digest. In one of the issues I was reading, an author, Sherman Alexie, gave ten pieces of advice that I thought I'd pass along to you.

DISCLAIMER: this is not my work, but a section from the Sept. 2010 issue.

Anyways, here it is!

10. Don't Google yourself
9. When you're finished Googling yourself don't do it again
8. Every word on your blog is a word not in your book.
7. Don't have any writing ceremonies. They're just a way to stop you from writing.
6. Turn your readings into evvents. Perform and write with equal passion.
5. Read 1 000 pages for every one you write.
4. In fiction, research is overrated. But that means readers will write [to] you correcting all of your minor biographical, geographical, and historical errors. If you like make those corrections in the paperback, but don't sweet it too much.
3. Don't lose the sense of awe you feel whenever you meet one of your favourite writers. However, don't confuse any writer's talent with his or her worth as a human being. Those two qualities are not necessarily related.
2. Subscribe to as many literary journals as you can afford.
1. When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author. Be effusive with your praise. Writing is a lonely business. Do your best to make it a little less lonely.

His list just gave me a few things to think about, so I thought I would relay it to everyone else for there thoughts. So with that, feel free to comment about your opinions of his advice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's Group: Jan. 2012


Recently, I joined up on Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog hop entitled The Insecure Writer's Group. Here's a direct quote from the host blog that explains it better than I could:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

I'm a little bit nervous about writing my first post for this particular group, but I figured that I would just jump right into it. Cut me some slack if I ramble (more so then usual!).

Something I've been challenged with my whole (short) writing life is sharing work. I'm fairly confident about what I write, probably because I usually don't let other people see it (except you Kote!) until it's polished off. However, that being said, I'm not afraid (mostly) of what people think of my writing, I just hate the idea of people knowing I write.

I'm not ashamed of what I write or that I'm a writer.

I've thought quite a bit about why I hesitate to tell people that I write, and I believe I've come up with the answer. The primary reason would probably be that I don't want the pressure. As soon as people know that you enjoy something, they expect you to produce. They aren't necessarily mean or demanding about it, but they do expect it. For example, ever since members of my youth group (I love them dearly) found out how much I enjoyed writing, I get called on quite often to write various things. Having people expect written work from me isn't a bad thing really; having some accountability is healthy. The problem I have with this sort of pressure is that people who don't write don't always understand the way writing works. They often expect me to whip out quality work with the ease of pulling a pair of pants on. Often, they expect more from me than I do! They don't realize the hours that go into the first draft, revisions, and the wash rinse and repeating it requires. They aren't the bad guys, they just don't understand unless they've done it before.

After rereading that paragraph, the way I feel seems kind of silly and a little bit selfish. Being known as a writer is a hurdle I will have to jump eventually and really truly isn't that awful. The next steps for me in regards to dealing with the title of writer would be communicating to people that I am still learning, I am certainly not a literary master, and I am happy to help with the skills I do have.

So that's it, my first Insecure Writer's Support Group post. I'm not sure if I did it right or not, so let me know what you think!

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