Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shovel-ready jobs for Writers: where is our stimulus package?

Spell-checker, grammar-checker, fact-checker. If only those were people-jobs and not computer occupations! Traditional publishers, self publishers, bloggers, commentators, letters-to-the-editor writers all seem to have arrived at a common place: enough words, often too many words, will get you between covers or between headline and deadline. On the net, in the paper, on bookstore shelves. So much of what one reads today in contemporary writing is not just poorly written, but poorly edited, both in terms of content and in simple sentence construction. My English teachers of several generations ago would never have let a 9th grader get away with some of the writing one sees today in newspapers, magazines and books, and on the Internet.

And truth? Why, it hardly exists beyond what some writer/blogger/commentator says is true. Nearly every week there is a mea culpa plea from some figure in public life or behind the cover of a book who admits (seemingly without lasting consequences) to shading the facts, or downright lying. "Who cares," seems to be the mantra most expressed by people who have a public ear or eye to play to, "I got it out. Deciding what to believe is your problem, not mine."

I read what I write, I ask others who are editorially more sophisticated, to read what I write, and I ask total strangers to pay to read what I write. I believe it is still important that what I write is not just honest. It must also be true and it must be spelled correctly. And I like it to be just a little artful, have a phrase or two that makes me smile with satisfaction, it must "sing," and make a reader say, "I liked the way you said that."

That’s a stimulus package for any writer

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