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 write something to the time when I am proof-reading it is typically zero, my brain fixes the errors internally. If you write with any regularity, I think you’ll understand what I just said. After a few hours of sleep, when I reread my article with some separation, I almost always find a few things that I would like to change. 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. I try to type as fast as I can to keep up with whatever it is that has me thinking … and then I hit the “publish” button. This might not be 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 don’t seem to care too strongly one way or the other. Typos and grammar issues in stream of consciousness blogs such as mine don’t bother me as much as articles I read in magazines and newspapers … those typically involve some sort editorial process and oversight.
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 …