Tips for Writers

Writers: Use Your GPS Skills

With so much creative license taken with how we use/spell words today (e.g. dogz, politiks), it is not unusual for some writers to feel that style-crampers such as Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling (GPS) are for stodgy perfectionists.

I had a discussion once with a family member who wrote her fashion blog without so much as a comma!

She said that her readers did not complain; therefore, it should not matter. (She considered me–a former editor–to be old-school.)


I countered by saying that if a media professional, potential sponsor or advertiser read her blog–which was fun and informative–they might perceive her as ignorant of the Conventions of Standard Written English.

Recently, however, she asked me to edit her new blog for GPS. I gladly accepted.

Using language in new and different ways is what writers DO.

Consider bell hooks, nee Gloria Jean Watkins, who adopted her maternal great grandmother’s name (Bell Blair Hooks), but does not capitalize it, she says, to focus attention on her work, not her name.

Another literary device called “stream of consciousness” writing eliminates most punctuation. The most famous book in this style is Ulysses by James Joyce, which captures the flow of internal dialogue as naturally as possible.

Only writers who know the conventions of Standard Written English should experiment with or make changes to the language.

Your mastery of these conventions (or lack, thereof) is easily apparent to other writers and/or word scholars.

Words are powerful conveyors of ideas, feelings, and thoughts.

Respect that power by learning the nuts and bolts of the craft.



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