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Grammar and Spelling as a Writer

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Are you a GRAMMAR Junkie?   Perhaps you are a SPELLING BEE?

I put my hands up and will admit, as much as I LOVE WORDS…  English Grammar and Spelling are not my forte.

Dyslexic Writer

This is due, in part, to my dyslexic tendencies – I find that some configuration of letters to be difficult for me to get in the right order.   I often put “i” and “e” in the incorrect order -not because I don’t know how to actually spell the word, but rather when I write or type it, it comes out wrong.

Additionally, there are certain words I love to use, which I have to constantly look up in a dictionary, to ensure that I spell them correct.   I have now found a solution to this problem:  I write a list of these words at the front of my dictionary, making them easy and quick to find.  Otherwise, I found that while writing, I stopped using some words I really liked, and replaced them with words I could spell.  However, these replacement words often fell short in conveying the meaning I was striving for, or lacked the punch to really emphasize the scenario to the reader.

When You’re Not a Native Speaker

I know that for some of you, reading this post, English is not your mother-tongue.   I applaud anyone who has the confidence to write in another language.   It is a daunting task and knowing that native English speakers are going to be reading your work, it can be off-putting.   Well- I say keep going…  don’t be put off!   If you are worried about making mistakes – then enlist the help of a native English speaker to read it through for you and correct any obvious errors.  Be open to learning as you write, and welcome any feedback that helps develop your writing skills.

But hey – don’t stress about it too much – many native English speakers don’t even have a great grasp of their own grammar.   As a foreigner, learning English, you often learn the grammar point more in depth than we do.   When I think back to my English Language lessons at school, they certainly did not prepare me in grasping the finer mechanics of my own language.  For example, when I was learning French while living in Paris, my French teacher had to constantly explain the English grammar point before she could teach it to me in French.  She confessed I was not alone, and certainly for her, it was a common issue with many of her native English speakers.

Grammar

Simple punctuation and basic grammar is key.  After all, you wish to construct a sentence that begins with a capital letter and ends with a full-stop.   If you struggle with the basic grammar points, then use some tools to help you.   One great tool is grammarly (www.grammarly.com) – use it to check your grammar and spelling as you write.   Another option is the spelling and grammar checker available in many word-processing software packages.   However, I will say that I have encountered glaring spelling and grammar errors when using Microsoft Word.

If you wish to have a grammar reference book on hand – I recommend the following:

  • Word Perfect – A dictionary of current English usage – by John O. E. Clark     Published by Harrap’s Reference
  • My Grammar and I (or should that be “Me”?) – by Caroline Taggart and J. A. Wines   Published by Mom Books
  • Essentials of English – by Hopper, Gale, Foote and Griffin     Published by Barron’s
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves – by Lynne Truss    Published by Profile Books

Also, a ‘must-have’ for all writers, is a good DICTIONARY and THESAURUS.   I use the Collins “Dictionary and Thesaurus in One Volume“.   I love using the THESAURUS to find alternative words, thus ensuring my writing is more varied and interesting.   Although, avoid using ‘BIG’ words just for the sake of it – it is pretentious and annoying for many readers.

As a Writer – Just Write

The key thing is as a Writer is to WRITE.   Write every day to hone your skills, and don’t be afraid to use the WORDS you want to use.   If you struggle spelling certain words, make a list of them and keep it somewhere you can readily access, so they are easy to find when you need them.

Remember, the focus is on the story you are telling.  Sure, there will always be someone who picks up a spelling or grammar error – but for most readers this is not a major stumbling block (as long as they are only here and there…).

YOU ARE A WRITER – so make peace with English spelling and grammar, and JUST WRITE!

 

PS.  I am not perfect, and please feel free to point out any spelling or grammar errors – I am always open to learning and improving too!

 

The WRITE Word TV Show – click here to watch

The WRITE Word Podcast Show – click here to listen

 


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The Business of Writing

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So you want to be a serious writer, become a published author and make words your tool of choice…

Sounds great and there is a general belief that anyone can write a book.   Well, now with the advancement of technology and the fact that the internet has opened up the world to any budding writer, it certainly is much easier.   Anyone can write, for sure, however the reality is that a serious writer needs to put in the hours and build their following in the virtual and real world.   You need to constantly deliver top-notch offerings to keep your followers engaged – they want to get to know more about you, as well as your work.

It Takes More than Writing

In our modern era, a successful author not only writes great books, but there is the need to invest time and effort to ensuring that the world knows about the book and potential readers are reached.    Writing the book is almost the easy part (believe me there is a lot goes into a writing a well-contrived novel), with a large chunk of time required to keep social media outlets populated.   It is all about attracting, engaging and building a relationship with your audience.   Share with them aspects of your real life; treat them to snippets of your writing; show them that you are a human being first and a writer whose work captures their imagination, inspires them, and makes them laugh and/or cry.   We are all human beings in this world all living our lives and have experiences – and people who tend to be creative, like writers for example, are usually people who tend to live life to the fullest, thereby giving them great experiences to draw upon and inspire them in their writing.   I know that I certainly do this – a lot!

 

Social Media Marketing

Unless you live in a desert or a far-flung star – you are most likely using some form of social media, or at the very least are somewhat aware of it. Social Media is all about connecting people, and this is great for any writer, as our aim is to connect with our readers.  So don’t be shy – start to use it!

There are many options to chose from – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.  Make sure you find an option you feel comfortable with and are prepared to spend the time to work with.   Many people adore Facebook as you can set up a Page for your writer persona, and groups are a great way to connect and interact with polls, live videos, and sharing learnings.   Instagram is great if you are a visual person with images and short videos, and some people, like President Trump, really go to town with Tweets on Twitter.    Find the one that works for you.   Make sure you are comfortable in using the key aspects – if you are a total “technophobe”, perhaps consider roping someone in for support (kids are naturals with technology, perhaps you could persuade your teenage to lend a hand for some reimbursement).  Also, I would suggest that you do some research to find out what social media preferences your ideal reader/fan is using, and how they use it.

Once you are up and running do try to generate two-way conversations – invite input by posting questions or even a poll.

Face-to-Face

Over and above social media, there are other important actions to take to promote your writing/book.  Get up and personal with live event; for example, speak at writer workshops, and when you have your book; get invites to do book readings to groups or clubs where your ideal reader hangs out; or speak to your local bookstore and see if they will stock your book and arrange a book signing.

Be Heard – Be Seen

Additionally, if you can deal with some technical set up, or have someone who can support you – why not consider doing a Podcast Show or a TV Show on YouTube?   Your audience want to see you, get to know you, and hear the interesting things you have to share with them.

If you wish to be taken seriously as a writer you need people to get to know your writing, get to know you and become your “tribe”.   Treat writing like a proper job – do your writing, share your experiences, thoughts, and glimpses of your real life, consistently, and you will be rewarded.

COMMIT to CONSISTENCY!

 


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