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.

4 comments:

  1. This little lessons are always hard. If you're like me, and it sounds as though you are, these sorts of moments haunt me for a long time. I love the way you are handling it, though! It makes us all wiser and stronger. Besides, that one little "than/then" flub won't erase the message. It sounds as though you still hit a home run.

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  2. @ Ghost Girl
    Thanks so much for that! You're right, it DOES make us wiser and stronger (even if we look foolish for a little while). Haha. Thanks for visiting:)

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  3. The problem is that once you know a piece your brain fills in the text almost before you read it. It is really hard to proof read your own stuff - particularly a novel. You're right to try and get it all just so of course. When you are young do not be afraid to write from the hip a little. A little controversy never hurt an editorial. The message of what you write is the fix. You can be a little outrageous provided you are kind and never arrogant.

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  4. @ Emma,
    Thanks for the advice! Arrogance is certainly something to avoid in anything, writing especially though. I also find when I'm editing my own work it helps to look at it backwards, sentence by sentence.

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