Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Right

Several years ago, I read and reviewed, what was described by the writer, as a short story. What it was was a confusing, tangled mish-mash of ideas. And, side from the bad grammar and punctuation; the lack of structure; or consistent 'Point of View'; there was a plethora of misspelled words, (Something that is really inexcusable in this day of 'Spell Check').

My first response was to 'just back away'. I was relatively new to reviewing and reluctant to say anything 'not-positive'. However, since the point of the website was to encourage and improve writing, I swallowed hard and reviewed the piece.

I explained how important every aspect of writing was. Good grammar, punctuation, and structure were all necessary to produce a good novel, short story, essay, or whatever. I went to great lengths to explain how difficult some of these tools were to learn - but how they were crucial to good writing.

I mentioned how the site offered review groups, references, and a variety of classes - all there to help guide writers. I also pointed out that while they didn't advertise the fact, there were agents, editors, and publishers on that site. I advised the author to always put his best foot forward, because you never knew who might come across his writing. And, I did this all in the gentlest of terms.

I ended offering my help answering any questions the writer might have - noting that I, in no way knew the answer to every question; but I was sure I could find the person or persons that could.

The reply I received astounded me. This 'writer' told me that his ideas were the important thing - the point of his writing. He couldn't be bothered with the mundane 'housekeeping duties' like proper sentence or paragraph construction, grammar, or punctuation. Let alone the tedious aspects of plot construction, character development, or POV. He didn't have time for those things.

After one of my 'world famous' rants to a friend, I just let it go. Or, I thought I had - until something similar happened to me yesterday afternoon which was basically a rehash of that experience. This person didn't 'get' punctuation or POV; and didn't have time to work on it. And, (and this really pushed my buttons) even thinking about it, was ruining writing for them.

This is what I don't 'get' - why it is so many individuals nowadays can't be bothered to do things correctly? When did people start actually believing (not just thinking it now and then) that their time was too important?

The idea that people are entitled to get whatever they want, instantly, with little or no effort has to end.


  1. Amen, Miss Jordan. Instant gratification and the desire to have things handed to a person is the bane of life today.

    Currently I'm a member of a prominent writing site where the reviewing aspect, both giving and receiving, has taught me more about my writing than any other thing I could have done. But one has to be open to the change.

    My best to you in all your writing endeavors.