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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Unclean"


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know the drill. This is the day set aside for insecure writers across the blog-o-sphere to share all of our individual experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. I can't say enough about this group or how encouraging they are to me. Reading and sharing our thoughts here once a month has made a tremendous impact on my writing life. If you are interested in finding out more, you can visit the Insecure Writer's Support Group Facebook page, or click here- on Alex J. Cavanaugh's site to sign up.

A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter came running up to me, a hot little mess of  boogers and tears.  I couldn't imagine what was wrong, because I had only checked on her a couple of minutes beforehand, and she was right as rain, sitting on her bed, listening to music and reading her bible. What the heck could have happened? I was shocked when she started wailing, "I'm unclean!" She was pointing to the place in scripture where it says, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth doesn't make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth is what makes him unclean."  

My poor kid took those words straight to heart and couldn't get beyond them. I was torn between bursting out laughing or wailing right along with her.  You see, I had come to the same conclusion about myself.  I am an "unclean" writer. Yes, I've studied grammar and sentence structure. I have also read many books and taken extra writing classes to improve. But no matter what I do, I always, always, seem to screw up my tenses and/or throw in about fifty unnecessary commas. What's wrong with me? Am I too caught up in plot and climbing inside my characters' heads to focus on the details or is it because my mind is too thick to fully grasp all the rules? It doesn't matter, cause either way, I'm still stuck in the same wretched state, "unclean".

What about you? Do your CPs fantasize about bashing you over the head with an English text book? How many times can you edit your work before your eyes cross and your head splits open?  Any suggestions on how I can improve?

27 comments:

  1. Just keep writing. I don't think any of us reach that perfect level, so we just have to do the best we can to make it clean.
    I would've been hard pressed not to laugh as well!

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    1. I couldn't even crack a smile because she was SO serious, all convicted and reading into the passage like she was never going to be good enough. After a little lesson on God's grace, she was feeling a whole lot better in no time. But oh my gosh she was so cute it was hard not to laugh.

      And as far as the writing- UGH. Man, I have got to be the absolute worst. At first I kept blaming it on my auto-immune disease and fog brain. But that's not entirely it because I don't even recognize the mistakes I've made until after I send some work out! It's humiliating. Here's hoping practice makes perfect...

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  2. Practice. There's no such thing as perfection, but there is improvement. As long as we're constantly looking to do better, that's all that matters.

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    1. Thanks so much Crystal. I am trying my best. Not to repeat myself but it's just like I said to Alex above, sometimes I don't even recognize my mistakes until after I send out my work. It's really embarrassing.

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    2. I know! I'm totally the same way. It's led to a case of trigger shyness that can only be countered by my amazing editor. Thank goodness for confidence boosters!

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  3. Second try here - apparently blogger didn't like my first comment.

    When I first read this early this morning in bed, I almost fell out because I was laughing so hard. I thought surely she is talking about me (especially with that comma remark). I like to think I keep copy editors in business

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    1. Blogger has been all kinds of testy today. I had a few of my comments sucked away and it took me forever to post. And so it goes..

      I'm glad I gave you a good laugh, we could all use one every now and again. And no, I was not talking about you and your fondness for commas, LOL... But I am really struggling with my fog brain and writing and grammar shortcomings. There are only so many classes I can take and so many books I can read, before my head explodes. None of it is helping, I still can't get my stupid tenses straight. I fluctuate from present to past in the same sentence sometimes (as I'm sure you are painfully aware of having CP'd for me so many times). What the heck is wrong with me? I wonder if I should give up or if my characters and stories are even worth it anymore. I still love to write and want to tell stories, but maybe I'm just not cut out for it? IDK.

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  4. Writing is all in the storytelling. The characters, the plot, the setting--all those things you are amazing at. The grammar and "rules"? That's just the vessel that communicates your story to the readers, so don't worry about that stuff as you write. Learn as much as you can, but in the end, it's not what's most important. That's what editors are paid to fix. ;)

    Also, your daughter is adorable. I don't know if I would have laughed or cried either. <3

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    1. I felt so bad for the poor kid! She was really feeling very convicted b/c she has such an extremely big heart and love for God. She doesn't ever want to do something to disappoint Him. The whole time I was talking to her and calming her down, I couldn't even smile or laugh because she was so serious- later on when I told The Husband we cracked up. As a mom though I still feel for her in equal portions of both, tears and laughter.

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  5. Nothing wrong with getting a little down and dirty in your writing. You can always go back and "clean" it up later. I'm terrible at grammar and sentence structure, but I just look at it as something I can hone.

    Don't make a hurdle out of a stepladder.

    What that has to do with anything, I don't know.. :)

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    1. Thanks Mark. I will try. Sometimes I feel like such a simpleton though, when I go back and see all of the mistakes I've made- I don't even register that I am doing it until later!!

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  6. I'm sorry, but I've never heard of a writer referring to herself as "unclean" in this way. LOL. That's so funny. I have an English degree and edited for more than 10 yrs. And my drafts are still riddles with "uncleanliness." It's cool. As long as you have critique partners with some laundry detergent.

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    1. Hope I made you laugh! You edited for ten years? I think that's awesome! I do send my work along to my CP's as "clean" as I can. But man oh man do I miss A LOT! Thank God they are so patient and kind to me. I still feel bad for them though!

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  7. I try not to let the 'unclean' writing get in the way of the first draft, or even the second. I admit that I make mistakes, especially commas that come and go with each draft. But as Jay says I trust my critique partners/beta readers to point out the glaring ones. Don't feel that you need to wash out your writing with soap.

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    1. Thanks so much Roland!! I appreciate the kind words and support. It's always good to know I'm not alone in making all of these mistakes! Thanks so much for commenting :)

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  8. I'm the same way. I don't pay attention to that stuff when I'm writing, so I hire editors who will fix those things for me.

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    1. Hello Karen! I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't register those things while they are writing. I was really feeling bad about myself! Good to know. I might just have to save up some extra cash to pay for some heavy-duty editing!

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  9. Ha! Poor kid. That's really funny. So anyone who says their writing is completely clean is crazy. We all have bits we need to work on, but that's the point - we keep working on it.

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    1. It was hilarious. After we talked and I explained the passage and showed her a few more, she was back to normal in no time. I love that she is so sensitive and self-aware.

      I'm glad I'm not the only one that's "unclean". Sometimes I feel like I am the biggest hack in the entire world because I can't seem to get my grammar cleaned up. I honestly don't even see the mistakes sometimes until after. I think I'm looking at it so much I can't even see straight anymore!

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  10. It's not possible to be absolutely perfect at grammar, I think. No matter how much we practice or drill the rules into our heads, a mistake will still somehow find a way to sneak in there! (That's how it seems to me, anyway, haha.)

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    1. Yes! I don't even catch half or more of the mistakes that go out. I don't know how I could miss them once my CP's point them out- they are glaring at me! Then I feel like a giant idiot.

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  11. Having an editor is the best thing ever. You get to write your story then hand it to someone who worries about all that stuff that I just don't care about, but others may.

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    1. I love this group because it really helps me know I am not the only one with bad grammar and who makes so many mistakes! Thanks for all the support. And welcome back Brandon!

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  12. I think everyone screws up tenses and commas now and then. You have a great voice and that's more important than tiny grammatical details. That's what cps are for! To help with those things. :) I always love reading your work.

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    1. You, my friend, know more than most just how jacked up my grammar and tenses can be! And still you help me. You are the best Rachel!! Thanks so much for always helping me out, even though you know full well when you read something for me the grammar help I need is seriously heavy-duty. A million thank yous will never be enough.

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  13. Typos, grammar errors in the midst of the imaginative grip of the story, and just plain old-fashioned errors are completely normal. People who don't make any mistakes must be writing slow and not getting into their work. (sorry, but that's my hard-hearted opinion). I pick on advertisement grammar errors because those seem so embarrassingly glaring, but I try not to pick on other grammar errors (other than as a CP) because everyone makes them (everyone). I had college level grammar and I still make mistakes about putting in too many commas. I still have massive typos and even use apostrophes wrong when I'm blithely typing away. And, when I read over my work slowly, I'm horrified when I find those things. However, the whole reason we have CPs is to help us find those things, right? It's hard to swallow sometimes when a page comes back marked up red but it is meant to be helpful.
    The only way I know how to improve grammar and typo errors is to read work out loud before sending it off to another reader. It's time consuming and I don't always do it, but it works.

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    1. Thanks Tyrean. I really appreciate your "hard-hearted" opinion! It makes me feel better that I am not the only writer who doesn't seem to notice glaring typos while in the midst of creativity. I hate to stop while I'm in "the flow" and go back to what I've already written because I know it's going to be raw and then I feel compelled to stop and fix everything... it breaks my concentration and my heart at the same time. Relying heavily on CPs is just about my only hope!

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