Write Well to Feel the Love

This is me, sweating over just the right word.

One of my passions is, I care deeply about how writers use language. My Facebook avatar illustrates how I occasionally see myself as a writer.

Meet Goofy Writing, my Avatar.

Used correctly, language clearly conveys your most subtle meaning. Many readers who don’t feel compelled to nit-pick content are nevertheless sensitive to language improperly used. As I am a compulsive editor, however, I can’t help nit-picking at serious content. And if you hope to communicate your meaning accurately, you’d better become a nit-picker as well.

When someone calls upon me for writing advice, I give them the following advice: First, study the language. Read something other than twitter, Facebook, or text messages. Even comic books use better English than that. Know what a well-structured sentence looks like. Use capitol letters where needed; they were invented for a purpose. And use the spell-checker, but don’t depend entirely upon it. Functional illiterates can’t expect smart people to read their material. You do want smart people reading your blog, don’t you?

Are you confused yet?

Second, the English language uses an obscene number of words, from many different base languages. In view of that complexity, strive to use the correct words to most efficiently convey your intended meaning. For example, homonyms are the writer’s enemy (and the spell-checker’s friend). Are you up for a challenge? Try to sort out the diagram to the right. Also, a thesaurus is a double-edged sword; also use a dictionary. Never use a six-bit word simply to impress. Chances are you’ll use the wrong one anyway. Part of spelling is correctly using punctuation, like apostrophe’s (not like I just did). Wrong word use’s (did it again) advertize the writer’s ignorance. Comas aren’t those little marks that aren’t quite a period. Those are commas, and, too many, of them, are like, too many hurdles in a foot race.

Then, there is the passive voice; Where possible, have it purged from your writer’s voice. I am offended by such weak-kneed sentences. The passive voice often must be used by Technical and legal writers, but most bloggers don’t qualify. (By the way, I wrote those last three sentences in the dreaded, passive voice. Here they are in the active voice: “Where possible, purge it from your writer’s voice. Such weak-kneed sentences offend me. Technical and legal documents must often use the passive voice, but most blogs don’t qualify.” Compare both versions to catch the differences. Here’s a hint: Using the verb, “to be,” or any of its derivatives in a sentence is a dead giveaway.

You don’t have to sound stuffy to write well. Sure, you want to get creative, but learn how to use English correctly before trying to wow your audience with your creative writer’s voice. They’ll love you for it.”


7 thoughts on “Write Well to Feel the Love

  1. Hi Jim , something that I have had to accept is that I will never make No 1 in writing because I’m Dyslectic I will leave you a link below so you will have more understanding, it also has a link to my Teenage years and how I was able to overcome some of the problems that are connected to this Disability.

    To be honest I still find it very hard to write fluently but it flows when I write Posts and Comments, which I thank God for, yes it comes from my heart and His Love but I’m still a cracked vessel, Thankfully He is The Supper Glue, I can’t spell or understand Grammar and Punctuation and the Spellchecker I’m using doesn’t always give the right word and I don’t always recognise this.

    I’m also an Australian and American spelling is different to ours in some letters, when we write Saviour like the K.J.B we have a U in it but you don’t and mostly you use a Z and we use a S with some words, so of course it also depends where you are born. I did ask Firefox for Aussie spelling which I recognize better but they didn’t respond even though they asked for our preference, it seems even the biggies get it wrong.

    I appreciate Loving correction but not abuse and discrimination.

    Blessings – Anne.

    • Hi Anne. I’d be the last one to rag on someone who’s dyslexic, as I too fight that frustrating visual/brain issue. That’s why I edit so fiercely. As I’ve considered my own dyslexia, I’ve determined that it has an upside: Dyslexics’ minds work differently from ordinary people’s. We tend to think more divergently, viewing ideas and concepts from unconventional perspectives. That, by the way, is one of the definitions of creativity. Enjoy your “disability,” Anne, and exploit it for all it’s worth. And always remember to thank and praise our loving Lord for everything. May our omnipotent God bless and prosper you and your family as you follow Him.

      • Thank you also Jim for joining up with us it is very much appreciated and so is all your encouragement and support on our Blog , you are a very kind man with a Loving heart for God and the Body of Christ.

        Jim I would like to understand more about my Disability and you seem to know what many don’t , others have just accepted me with it or put me down. I will leave another link for you so you can see how I coped with it in High School but I feel you could help me have a better understanding, yes I’m Creative and Analytical which means I can also see outside the box but I did not realize why others couldn’t see what I can see, especially in Scripture because I know They Love the Lord very much too.

        Disability – http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/teddy-and-annie/

        I have a Doctors Appointment this morning and also later today but I hope to be able to respond to your other Posts, so much has happened in such a short time but I want to and plan to spend time getting to know you better, you have uplifted me so much Jim and no doubt others too.

        Christian Love in our Unity in Christ Jesus – Anne.

      • And thank you, Anne, for sharing that link. I’m afraid TWDB isn’t as encouraging as your blog, as I also tend to look at the world, including the church world, critically. My brothers and sisters need encouragement, but not our institutions. Isn’t it funny (NO) that even Christian works that begin with God’s anointing, eventually get Institutional Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). I don’t know if there is a cure, but it can be prevented by never allowing Christian organizations to become institutions. (I think I’ve just begun another blog post.)

        Come to think of it, I haven’t heard about Ron’s latest checkup. How’s he doing? I’m still praying for you both.


  2. Most today in the Churches Jim are not taught the basics after Salvation, they think they have arrived because they say they believe without even knowing what it means to believe in Jesus’ Name and I was the same, so I do have Compassion for them and more so for those who have fallen into sin or feel discouraged and want to give up even living.

    After many years of stumbling and failing to Mature in my Christian Life and even falling into sin but not away and yes I did come to heart repentance but it was still 5 years later till I felt a great need to ask for God’s wisdom and empowering of The Holy Spirit and when I did, it all came together and I’m learning as Jesus leads me in to all understanding of His Truth and I do understand the basics now even if others reject them because they are still in darkness like I was.

    Although Paul does tell us clearly that we have to put our Carnal flesh to death and aim to be perfected in Love, some don’t even know what these mean or that we need God’s wisdom by the empowering of The Holy Spirit to understand (1Corinthians2:9-16) Jesus tells us to Seek, Ask and Knock, sadly I think some believe it’s all about a New Car or a Trip Overseas or never being sick.

    Jim I’m sure you have joined up with us, Ron gave me an Update to Post for him so if you subscribed you should have received it, he will be going to the Oncologist next week so I will let you know what he intends to do, his Doctor said he may need an Operation. Thanks for caring.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.

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