Thursday, 19 September 2013

Blogging: Facing the shame of my bad writing

As an experiment, I am counting the number of times I edit this blog after I first clicked the Publish button: 6
I am still learning to write
I have to admit I have a problem too many ideas course through my active mind and with that the desire to tap at my keyboard and produce a blog. I have been doing this for a long time; I am in my tenth year of blogging.
When I first started blogging, I passed my copy through a grammar and writing style checker to ascertain the readability of what I have written and found that it consistently registered too high on the scale for it to cater to a broad reading audience.
Checking grammar and readability
The grammar checker became a moderating influence as I tried to make my thoughts easier to access and thus easier to read. Shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences, and sentences I could read back to myself without pausing to understand why I wrote that way, captioning and much else came into my writing.
Still, I end up doing a poor job of it; the ideas are generally sound but riddled with errors. These errors are rarely of the spelling kind but of the grammatical context, writing style and readability kind.
The strange thing is I have not been able to bring the kind of rigour I give to business writing to blogging as if it is a mind-set thing and hence my problem compounded.
I can return
I find safety and refuge in my blog, I am able to constantly review, edit, correct, rephrase, and refine what I have written without the need for an intermediary, because it is my space.
I carry my shame constantly reminded that though my mother tongue is English and I pride myself in the ability to express myself excellently, I am still a very bad writer.
Inspiration and review
What I have noticed with my writing is that the flow of inspiration is quite different from context of review. Somehow, I have found that if I lose the first draft of anything I have written I am usually unable to recreate that flow of inspiration again.
I do feel that loss deeply and that is why I prefer to create my blogs on an offline editor, because each time I have done it on an online editor, I have lost everything. This happened only a few days ago – I have not been able to reproduce that inspirational burst since then.
Mind apart
I say to people, when I have my fingers to the keyboard, I am like a man possessed; my fingers trying to keep up with the torrent of phraseology churning in my mind, much of which is fully formed in my mind but my fingers rarely keeping up with it.
My senses then fail to spot what I have left out; between what I was thinking and what I eventually wrote; my sight deceived into thinking they are the same.
Reading to my hearing
At one time, I took to reading my draft blogs out to myself as an editing process; I still do that for my most important pieces. Nevertheless, I am quite impatient because my newly crafted blog feels like bread just taken out of the oven, the aroma, the warmth, the softness and everything that makes freshly baked bread enraptures you, you want some of it, there and then.
Therefore, you finish the blog, give it a scant review, annotate it, caption it, format it and publish it, satisfied that the job is done. Hours, days, weeks, months or even years later, you go back to read that blog and palm to face embarrassment – Did I really write that?
In the heat of the moment, I did, but because it is my blog, I can review, edit, correct, update and constantly do that for the lifetime of the blog – a blog is never finished – it is a living document and that is because, I am really a bad writer.
Readability Statistics
I enabled the grammar and style checker for this blog, but it was not used for this section of the blog. Between the first attempt at writing this blog, and what you can read now, I improved on the readability but lost some of the literary and artistic license I take in how I write. I guess that is what really makes me a bad writer.
The Readability Statistics of my very first draft 


The Readability Statistics after 20 minutes of editing the first draft.
 

I think there is much room for improvement.


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