Don’t Join The Sloppy Writer Brigade

Poor writing loses readers fastWriting is one thing, but being a sloppy writer is another.

With so many writers now being given the wonderful opportunity to publish their work using self-publishing, there are many who are either sloppy writers, plain lazy or lack in the grammatical and orthographic fundamentals necessary to write well.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, a poem, a short story or a blog post, accuracy is essential for the reputation of a writer.

Whether it be for print or Internet posting, the same care and effort should be taken to ensure that a writer presents his or herself as competent, and not to be instantly recognised as a lazy, sloppy writer.

Of course, it’s all too easy to say that all writers should use an editor or reliable proofreader, but in reality, time and money are of the essence. Much of what a writer writes simply does not warrant paying for these services.

The best writers are meticulous

For a writer’s blog article, a poetry submission, short stories published online or something as simple as a comment on a blog or Facebook post, it is the writer who needs to take responsibility and check their work meticulously.

This means reading, checking and double checking before any text goes out publicly.

If a writer relies purely on a computer spell checker, the results will be extremely poor.

Spell checkers cannot find the contextual errors that can ruin a piece of writing. The classic errors of their, there, they’re or its, it’s or has, had will never be found by a spellchecker.

Most word processors also have auto text. This tool is a sure fire way to let your computer make awful mistakes on your behalf, and I would always suggest turning it off.

Another problem with spell checkers is that they do not work when online writing, such as with social media posting.

Cut and paste is also a deadly tool.

During the writing process, it’s handy but it is also an easy way to make errors. I have seen so many errors with verb agreement with singular and plurals that were clearly a result of this.

By all means use cut, copy and paste but make sure you check very carefully when proofreading.

Get some writing help

There are a lot of online tools and services that can help a writer improve the standard of their writing and assist in eliminating silly errors.

I have used Grammarly for a long time now, and because it works with Word, WordPress and as an always-on app in most browsers, I can check almost all of my writing, both long and short-form, very quickly.

It has saved my bacon on so many occasions.

Lastly, though, even with online tools that can help, writers have to want to take pride in what they produce.

Of course, there will be the odd error or typo that slips through, but a competent writer will keep these to an absolute minimum.

A good writer will always feel extremely annoyed with themselves when these errors or typos slip through because they take great pride in the quality of their writing.

There is no doubt that the advent of self-publishing has allowed anyone to become a writer.

Unfortunately, there are many who are publishing sub-standard material, or even worse.

The way to stand out and rise above this is, of course, to write well, but also to be meticulous in the way every piece of text is checked, double-checked and triple-checked, no matter how short or long.

A writer might have written an error-free book, but who would want to read it if the author’s blog and social media posts are full of sloppy writing errors?

Being a good writer is about being a perfectionist, at all times.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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