On writing

Over at Pop Chassid, there’s a new post about why the author writes “badly.”

First, it’s not true–the writing badly part. It’s not true. Pop Chassid writes with an awareness of when “breaking” rules of grammar and usage is an appropriate thing to do. There’s never been a moment when I read a post on Pop Chassid and thought, “Oh, goodness, this is just bloody awful.”

So, Pop Chassid, keep using sentence fragments. And short paragraphs.

And beginning sentences with “and.”

But Pop Chassid’s post gives me (yet another) chance to think about writing a bit. I should say that I think about writing quite a lot. Not because I’m an English teacher, but rather because at my day job I am, for all intents and purposes, a professional writer in an area known for often quite formal, too-stodgy writing.

(And, yes, there are plenty of folks in my field whose writing does make me say, “Oh, goodness, this is bloody awful.”)

Despite that, I try to mix up my writing at work; I use single-sentence paragraphs to provide emphasis or contrast. I start sentences with “and” and “but” and “for” and “because.” I am probably too heavy a user of semicolons and hyphens. And I heart the Oxford comma. Without “scare quotes.”

I try to make sure what I write here is digestible, but I realize that won’t be readily true for every post. That depends on any number of factors: the complexity of the subject, the haste with which a post is written, what time my son woke up that day (for the record: 1 A.M. today), and any number of other things I’m sure I don’t notice.

So, dear readers, if something is impenetrable, feel free to let me know. After all–said with tongue planted firmly in cheek–blogs are only partially about being self-serving instruments of cowardly, anonymous expression!

Write thoughtfully.

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3 thoughts on “On writing

  1. I love your writing, but you know that. You have a brilliant talent for taking very complex ideas and making them not only digestible, but UNDERSTANDABLE. Write on.

  2. Pingback: Vigorous writing is concise | Greg R. Taylor

  3. Just noticed this! Thanks so much for the compliments, and I’m glad it got you thinking. At the end of the day we’re all just communicating, so I think it’s smart to ask your readers for some input every now and then.

    And this is my first time running into this blog, so I’ll have to dig a bit deeper. Thanks for linking to me so I could discover you 🙂

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