Sunday, February 12, 2012

Write Right - Cindy Sproles

As a writer, I make mistakes. I'm my own worst editor. I spend hours pouring over my work; reading and re-reading each line. I'm lucky if my eyes over ride my head long enough to catch a misspelled word or bad grammer. I often wish I were a better editor of my own pieces. I can edit the work of others much easier than my own. Still, before I send anything to anyone in hopes of publication, I pay to have it edited and proofed.

Why is that? A couple of reasons. First, I take pride in my work. Before I send it out, I want it to be the very best it can be. This is my gift from God and though I'm far from perfect, I make every effort to make the words the best they can be in honor of the Father who entrusted me with His gift.

Secondly, I hate slush piles and the quickest way to a slush me rephrase, the trash can. The quickest way to the trash can beside an editors desk is to send them a piece of work filled with mistakes.

I edit devotions daily for Christian Devotions and I'm always amazed at how little writers care about their work. For example, I got a devotion written like this:

i walked across the stage. susan and joe starred at me. i wanted to cry or through something at them.

Now, let me qualify the above by saying those are not the words I received but the mistakes were. Technology is wonderful but it's made us a society of lazy writers. Texting contains no puncuation or capital letters. Folks are so acustomed to having their photo attached to their message they've forgotten the meaning of signing their names.

So I agree with publishers and editors...we have a generation of lazy writers.

Writers spend hundreds of dollars to attend writers conferences to learn the finer points of writing and publication, yet they refuse to spend a few pennies to have their work proofed and edited. Why would one climb the stairs and then stop before they get to the stage? Go figure.

After a day of editing devotions which required the love of a pen as opposed to the keyboard of an iphone, I've decided to offer some do's and do not's as a reminder for writers.

1) Worship God with the words He's blessed you with and offer Him your best work.
2)  Find a proof reader and proof all your work before it hits the internet to an editor's
3)  Remember you are a writer and writers use real words not initials or short cuts like
     lol, 4ever and cu later.
4)  Practice using your shift key to CAPITALIZE the first letter of a sentences.
5)  Put your name on your work. Please put your name on your work. You wrote it. You
     own it. Claim it.
6) Craft your words. Stretch your vocabulary. Strive to write old things in a newer
    stronger way.
7) Do your research. Take pride in the accuracy of your work. If you're writing about
    National Kennel Club, make sure your facts are correct.
8) Write your words and don't borrow other's words without their permission and giving
     them credit.
9) Follow the guidelines. They're there for a reason and it's not to make your life hard. I
    entered my novel in the ACFW Genesis Contest. The guidelines were long and
    detailed but they were there so each judge would be able to read my work
    without issue. They're a necessary evil. Follow them.
10) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not
     need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Take pride in the gifts you are graced with. Use them to the glory of God.

I will officially step down from my soapbox and go back to editing. Did anyone proof my blog post? Andrea...are you there, there, there....