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.