Write for a reason

I went to Borders yesterday to use a coupon. I love bookstores. In fact, I could spend days in a bookstore. I love the way they smell, the sounds, the fact that I’m surrounded by so much more than just, me. Anyway, I digress. I walked into Borders and on the very first table (yeah, I’m one of those people that stop at each table and peruse the “recommended readings” and wonder to myself if they really are all they’re cracked up to be) is a book that’s entire cover is filled with text. Intrigued, I picked it up and read the cover.

I’m sorry, I lost interest in your message after the first paragraph and couldn’t be bothered to finish it. No doubt it was very clever and devastating and if it makes you feel good, please consider me abashed or chagrined or whatever it was you intended me to feel after reading your brilliant, scintillating words. In the meantime, allow me to congratulate you on your decision not to breed, as clearly a person of your qualities represents a full stop on the genetic paragraph; the evolution of your line need go no further.

Your Hate Mail Will be Graded – John Scalzi

A little disclaimer: First of all, this is sarcasm and I know that. No, I did not read the entire book. Heck, I didn’t even read the back cover. But if you’ve been around these parts for a while now, you know that I gain meaning from just about anything.

These words got me thinking. I have been a writer since the fifth grade. I love to write. As social media slowly overtook the world, I began to use my blog to cultivate my writing. I have since then expanded my reach and also have allowed myself to be affected by other’s blogs. I read blogs to learn, get ideas, laugh and so much more. I can’t even explain in words how much I gain from reading blogs every day. But the words of Scalzi worry me. Albeit sarcasm, there is truth in joking and these words make me wonder about whether my words on my little blog are “brilliant” and “scintillating.” Whether I am, in fact, making an impact on my readers like the blogs I follow are to me. It makes me think about writing in general and how the Internet has changed writing over the past couple years.

For example, when I was a freshman in college (2005) I joined what was then the Campus Press. I was a wet-behind-the-ears reporter ready to go out there and make a difference in the world with my writing. I would write drafts and drafts and drafts of my pieces before submitting them to my editor who would then make edits and I’d write even more drafts of the same piece. I would perfect my writing before anyone (other than my editor, and sometimes a parent) would see it.

Now, with the Internet being the prevailing entity of communication, I feel writing gets pushed to the wayside. I fire off emails without using spell check. I tweet 140 characters with, sometimes, mortifying spelling errors. I publish blog posts with grammar errors and fragmented sentences (which I swear is a stylistic choice). We all do. Now. But I go back and change every single one. I go back and change every error (that I’m aware of), I correct myself when I’m wrong, I don’t publish half-assed blog posts, I put thought into what I write. I’ve always been taught to think before I speak. I treat writing the same way. Especially with the Internet – it’s permanent no matter how badly we want to believe it’s not. Everything we publish is out there. Forever. That’s the beauty of it.

The Internet has been filled with so much spam and nonsense and I think that a lot of people don’t take the time to weed through the sludge to find the real gems. And that’s unfortunate. There are a lot of people out there, just like me, who still take pride in their writing. I have been blessed to meet, virtually and in real life, some of these fabulous writers that don’t fall into the stereotype of “nonsense-bloggers.” That still value the art of words. That write to provide something for everyone. That are out there to affect and change people’s lives – one letter at a time.

1 Comment

  1. john scalzi is a pretty prolific blogger & writer, actually … i think he’d agree with everything you wrote here! he literally grades and returns his hate mail, which is what that quote is referring to – after awhile, i’d imagine it gets pretty draining and/or repetitive to read the same old scathing, unsolicited vitriol in response to your blog. the book is a collection of his best essays from his blog … you should check it out. :)

    AND, happy east coast birthday! see you tomorrow for the real thing. :)

    Reply

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