I have a friend (trying to decide if I use the termly loosely) who considers himself a bit of a grammarian.His consideration is well-founded. (Dangit!) A few months ago, I too hastily posted an entry here at commonchapters that contained a typo. Of course the link to the entry goes immediately to Twitter. Of course my ‘friend’ points out the error by tweeting it at me. Of course you can now see why I might struggle to call him ‘friend.’ I mean, couldn’t he have simply overlooked the error? Couldn’t he have simply tweeted, ‘cheers!’?????
No. That wouldn’t do. Just as ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk,’ writing pals mustn’t let their compatriots’ usage errors slide. Chagrined (ah, there’s a word I don’t use often enough!), I hastily edited the post, favorited the tweet, and vowed to do better. I suddenly hear Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson crooning ‘that’s what friends are for…‘ (I actually tried to find a sound clip — you’ll thank me that I was unsuccessful)
Every writer needs some feedback, and sometimes it might be as mundane as an editing comment. But what, I ask you, is the protocol for helping a fellow writer when I just happen across a post marred by a rather blatant usage or mechanical error? When a writer offers a title like this one: “Novel writing and it’s challenges,” I cringe. I shudder. I figuratively pull out my trusty red editing pen. ‘Should I comment?’ I ask myself. No. For cryin’ out loud, settle down. But, do I follow the blogger? Bigger No. Therein lies the problem for a blogger who wants a readership. While my English teacher self remains plenty busy editing her own foolish blunders, she can’t help but notice those alarming mistakes in others’ writing. The training and practice of years of English teaching. A blessing and a curse.
My friend, the ‘semantic wrangler,’ as he’s been known to call himself, helps my writing. First by reading it. Secondly, by pointing out my errors. I should catch them myself, ’tis true. When I don’t, I’m glad for someone else who does, and has the wherewithal to correct me.
Writers write for readers. Readers, most of them a rather persnickety, opinionated lot, won’t keep reading a carelessly written offering. I keep learning this bitter lesson the hard way. So thank-you, my grammarian friend, for pointing out my errors. And for you bloggers out there — please remember that ‘its’ shows possession. ‘It’s’ is simply the contraction for ‘it is.’ I’m an English teacher. I’m here to help.