I will never claim to be a grammarian (an expert in grammar).There are far too many rules for me. However, does that mean that I should never write? Or worse: that I am a bad writer?
I’m sure some English teachers and grammarians the like, would say that I am a bad writer if I don't
understand grammar. In fact, I know they would. I had many teachers throughout my school career who told me that I was a horrible writer because I had (and still do) the hardest time understanding active vs. passive voice, modifiers, and those darn little apostrophes. I don’t think they could look beyond the fact that just because I had a hard time learning the rules of grammar didn’t mean
that I couldn’t be a writer.
Throughout my entire adult life, I have had a desire to write but always heard those negative teacher voices in my head telling me that I couldn’t. However, the voice in my head calling me to write
has since won and I have become a student of the craft. I think that I am finally beginning to have the confidence I need to push forward with writing and become a published author.
I have taken many classes about grammar, read many books on the subject, and even listen to podcasts about grammar but sometimes I wonder, “When is this ever going to sink in?” and "How do people keep of all these rules straight?"
Lately, because I am trying so hard to learn the rules, I find myself analyzing everyone else’s grammar! I have become one of “those people” who judge others for their grammar mistakes. Ugh. In my defense though, it’s only because I am beginning to finally “get it”. Or at least, I thought I was
Last week I received some editorial feedback about my writing and even though it was positive, they picked on the fact that I had misplaced a comma or two. This sent me riding a huge wave of self-doubt and boy did I ride that wave for a few days. I told myself that I was a worthless and horrible writer and that I should never write another thing ever, ever again! Then, I finally had enough and jumped off that wave. I told myself to snap out of it. People make mistakes! Even AUTHORS!
Authors make mistakes. What the what?
Recently, I was reading a book by a well-known author and found a half a dozen grammatical mistakes in her novel. And, (I assume) that her book was edited by a professional grammarian! I often see other writer’s blogs with spelling errors, or major corporations with errors in their emails, and I can’t tell you how many errors I find on menus. Just today in fact, I was reading another author’s blog and found many grammatical mistakes.
Authors are human too. We make mistakes, even (dare I say!) grammatical mistakes. Granted, writers should have a certain grasp and understanding of grammar rules, but for the most part, I don’t think we should get caught up in it. I think beating yourself up over grammar should take a back
seat - not get out of the car all together but just hang out in the back. Sort of like the back seat driver who guides you but isn’t in control. As writer’s it’s more important to get our words on paper and do our job whether it's writing for fun, to entertain, or to motivate.
So rather than just giving up this writing thing, I will vow to keep learning about this craft of mine because the minute that I think I know everything is the moment I know nothing.
If you need help with grammar (like me), I highly recommend Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips podcast. She teaches grammar, sentence structure, spelling, word use, and misuse. She also
has a website and numerous books that help people understand grammar in a fun and simple way.
What do you struggle with in your writing?