Bad Writing

I’ve gotten hideously sloppy with my writing and virtually everything having to do with the writing process. Of course, most blog readers are not terribly concerned with all the various parts that into the writing process, as long as the story or article is good enough to capture and maintain a reader’s attention. Errors of mechanics are simply passed off as a distraction, and most readers are fairly forgiving as long as the distractions aren’t too numerous or chronic. I rarely give my entries more than a cursory second look before posting them, spending more time on formatting and links and just getting them posted in a timely manner.

I got a paper from an instructor last spring where I was reamed thoroughly for trying to pass off a first draft. I was certain that my grade was going to suffer terribly for it, but in the end I got an ‘A’. That was kind of a surprise. But I passed off much of the criticism as this instructor’s bias and didn’t take it as seriously as I should have, since I’ve always done well before. So for my class this summer, I did the same sort of thing with a much shorter paper and was promptly given the ream again by a second instructor. It’s become glaringly obvious that my writing is rapidly heading south.

Sometimes I wonder if my entire brain is flickering out. I had a grandmother who had Alzheimer’s at the age of 55, and have always wondered if and when it would happen to me. Studying all the time helps to keep my mind in shape, but I’m also more in tune when it isn’t functioning properly. Age 41 isn’t terribly old, but I’m getting to the point that stretching it is taking more and more effort.

Of course part of my problem is that I’m a condescending prick, and I just don’t do criticism that well, unless it’s me giving it to others! I operate from this haughty premise that I’m smarter than everybody else, including these professors (who are now my age or younger) and know more than they do. So occasionally, I get what I’ve got coming and it really bums me out. It really is good to get feedback, even if it is negative. It’s how we improve. No one ever improves when they are constantly being told how good they are.

I suppose I should be thankful that this instructor is giving me a chance to redo this atrocious paper before grading it. I needed a good swift kick in the ass for acting like one.


9 Responses to Bad Writing

  1. No one takes criticism well. Little hard on yourself, aren’t you?

  2. Rob says:

    Yeah, we won’t hold it against you for the odd typo (like the 2nd sentence from the top – smile). We all suffer from the common problem of our minds moving faster than our typing fingers. I always have to proofread everything that I post (and even then I miss the odd word)

  3. Digger Jones says:

    Thanks for the comments! Yeah, maybe I’m a bit over the top but I had to get it out because it was bugging me. I ended up doing a rewrite that will be a cleaner job from the original. I had also couched some snarky remarks in that original paper. Not snarky to most people, but to an academic it was definitely a smart-ass remark. Sometimes it pays and sometimes it doesn’t.

  4. Square1 says:

    I’m a visual person, and for some reason proof reading in the text box results in me missing things. seeing it however published on the main page draws my attention to the mistakes. A lot of times I open a seperate window and proof read the blog while making corrections in the text box.
    It’s easy to become lax in your grammar and spelling when you have such a forgiving audience. Mechanics are a plus, but the main thing is you have talent, you have skill. Mechanics are easily improved after a bit of getting whipped back into shape by some harsh critics.

  5. Rob says:

    I used to be much worse in my writing skills until at one time I worked for a manager who had been transferred to our Canadian company from our parent UK company. This guy was a real stickler for proper grammer, syntax, and clear and concise writing. He always claimed that the British education system was superior to that found in North America. A bit of a snob at times but perhaps he was right in some respects. Anyway it was a good learning experience working for him. I’m always willing to learn from others.

    I always “preview” my comments before I publish them. The resulting preview box is easier to read than the area in which I type these comments.

  6. Digger Jones says:

    For sure there is a big difference with technical writing than there is with this type of informal writing. And yes I, too, frequently spot mistakes after publishing. Sometimes I correct them and sometimes it is just easier to move on to the next post!

  7. DH says:

    I’m very much the same way with my writing…especially when it comes to papers for a class.

    My theory is, I know what I meant to say the first time dammit! I self-edit as I write and am not big on going back and self-editing. I know I should, but it’s just not my way.

    Personally? I’m arrogant about my writing just as you are. I think that my first drafts are better than most people’s final drafts (present blogging company excluded).

    I’m not arrogant about very much, but I do like the way I write and I also pride myself on my vast knowledge of worthless facts…usually around pop culture.

    Who can tell me Charlie Brown’s teacher’s name? His favorite baseball player?

  8. His teacher was Mrs. Donovan I think. Not sure about his favorite baseball player.

  9. Carl Deep says:

    Thanks!! I think Ill return in the near future

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