27 Jul 2012
For those of you who have been through Life of an Architect before, you will know that I take a lot of liberties with my “grammar”. That’s right, I am a bad boy when it comes to following some of the rules but at this point – some 350+ posts later – that cat’s been let out the bag and I don’t really care. That’s because I have developed a writing style that I like to call “I type it just like I thought it out in my head” [yeah ... that's a bad-ass title]
… I’m not writing a technical manual here – I am trying to get you to read what I am “saying.”
Since I get some grammar police on my back from time to time, I need you busybody people to understand that I think faster than I type and when I make a mistake, it’s on purpose. Well… sort of. For the record, I always spell check so it isn’t too often that I misspell a word. I might use the wrong word but that mo-fo will be spelled correctly.
(did you notice how I used the right version of “too” instead of “to?” I get that right sometimes…)
So yes, my writing style is a written version of my talking style minus the wild arm gesticulations and the appropriate regional dialect. I scatter commas into my sentences like buckshot – but I’m not writing a technical manual here – I am trying to get you to read what I am “saying.” It’s not as easy as it looks.
When is the right time to add a dot dot dot? Hmmmm … I wonder?
How about dealing with a sentence that goes on and on and on – maybe a dash would fit the bill? Sometimes I use dashes when I want the reader to “hear” what I wrote as if I was speaking under my breath. As it turns out, there are loads of examples of speaking under my breath in. this. very. post!
How do you convey a conversation with yourself or show what you are thinking? (because in my blog world, that’s important)
Bob: I wonder if this post will make any sense…
Inner Bob (who also happens to be much better looking): Your readers are super smart, I’m sure they’ll understand.
Bob: I don’t know. I’m not all that sure that I understand. You know I’m making this up as I go right?
Inner Bob: Of course I do, who do you think is actually coming up with all this stuff in the first place?
Bob: think they know that I use italics whenever I am thinking inside my head?
Inner Bob: They do now …
I could go on for a while but I think the idea of my post is established now. I am sure there are rules for all the things I do in an effort to convey the conversational tones of my blog posts. While I don’t know if you literally get it, I do know that people recognize that there is a purposeful style to how I write.
Wow … okay. For the record, I almost barfed when I wrote that I “write” because I don’t write. I speak and then I type (or more specifically I think and then I type, and clearly I don’t think all that much before I type).
I read a post on the Harvard Business Review titled “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why” and I thought “Oh my Gawd, I could never work for that guy because my grammar sucks”. Don’t worry about why I was reading the Harvard Business Journal and don’t worry about the fact that I wouldn’t want to work for that guy anyway. The point is that I write a bunch of garbage (re: this post in particular) and stick it out there for anybody to read knowing that there are most likely grammar mistakes. I also know that it is easy to judge somebody by the quality of their writing (I do it) … I’m just not sure my sort of “writing” qualifies as actual “writing.
There is something inherent about a blog that implies spur of the moment stream of consciousness sort of sharing. I don’t agonize over how the content is delivered or whether or not how I write is as important as the message I am trying to convey. Of course, if the message is lost because the grammar is so terrible that the posts are agonizing to read … that’s a different story … err, conversation.
How about proof-reading? Sure, of course I proof read, but since the time span from when I wrote it to when I am proof-reading it is typically nothing, my brain fixes the errors internally when I am reading what I just wrote. If you write I think you’ll understand what I just said. After a few hours of sleep, I almost always find a few things I would like to change when I go back and read what I wrote. Unfortunately I am not programmed to work like that. I get an idea or an itch to talk about something and it just pours out of my head … as soon as I take out the trash and clean the litter box. I try to type as fast as I can to keep up and then hit the “publish button”. Maybe not the smartest thing to do but with the exception of a handful of people who feel the need to publicly correct a typo or grammar error - which is a total jerk move by the way. Besides, I’ll go back and fix it and when people read the comment you left pointing out a mistake that doesn’t exist anymore guess who looks like the dolt? Most people I don’t think care too strongly one way or the other. Typos and grammar issues in blogs such as mine don’t bother me as much as articles that I read in magazines, newspapers … anywhere an article is written for pay or isn’t on a blog.
Maybe it’s a characteristic of architects to always have a “work in progress” view towards things?
Or maybe I’m on an island here …