Why I Do What I Do

In case you missed it from the weekend, the Ottawa Citizen ran a great piece on the inverse relationship between how much people write and how well they write. With the omnipresence of blogging, e-mailing, texting, and IM’ing, some argue that the written word has become a disposable commodity, quality be damned. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. We’re all writers these days, but I’m still crazy enough to think that we can be effective writers as well. If the written language has become a ubiquitous machine, we’d might as well at least know how to operate the damn thing.

P.S. Dig the writer’s byline. Pretty cool the paper calls her a freelancer right up top.

6 Responses to “Why I Do What I Do”
  1. Jessie B. R. says:

    It’s true. I’ve had to have multiple talks with a coworker about including LOL in email subject lines. I’m not sure he understands quite yet that his laughing–whether out loud or to himself–is not of interest to me.

  2. Pat says:

    As is so often the case with these subjects, it’s a matter of time, place and tone. If you’re e-mailing a thanks-for-your-interest message after a job interview, you had damn well better do things properly. But if it’s a message between co-workers, sometimes speed or convenience outweighs propriety.

    A little bit of devilish advocating here from a guy who, truth be told, does judge people for writing mistakes:

    If, as is so often stated here, the most important element of good writing is clarity, what difference does it make if someone omits punctuation or capitalization from a text message? You’ll still know what they’re saying.

  3. Erik says:

    Hey Craig,
    I just stumbled onto your blog. It’s a quality little nugget, nice work. I try to check it often.
    I will say that I find articles like Whittaker’s piece to be a little rich. My knee jerk reaction is, Who cares? Those who recognise bad writing don’t need to act like a bunch of finger wagging school matrons. I don’t feel that the English language is sullied by text-drunk nincompoops who can’t be bothered to type vowels. And CEOs commenting on the defilement of the written word? The purposefully vague and circular wank-speak of corporate managers and politicians is a bigger threat to clarity and quality than a planet of amateur bloggers could ever be.
    Anyways, great blog. I don’t mean to jump into the conversation like a bull in a china shop. I’ve just had a gut-full of doomsaying articles that characterise the death of writing, the death of reading, the death of the book and the fickleness of Gen Y by raining sweeping generalisations, clichés and anecdotal evidence down upon our heads.

    • cbgaines says:

      Erik: Great comment, especially concerning the hostility corporations have toward simple, strong writing. Looks like your comment and an earlier one by my friend Pat is going to inspire a separate post. Stay tuned this week!

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