For the life of me, no matter how hard I try, how many times I edit or how long I take to publish, blogging without the help of an editor always leaves me with useless commas running around my text. I don’t know how they get there! I don’t know how I miss them during my own editing process.
Sometimes I choose to write in fragmented sentences because I prefer to write like I speak whether it’s grammatically correct or not. However, there’s no good reason to have extra commas. It’s not cute. It’s not casual. It’s just wrong and annoying. Periodically, I also suffer from being a semi-colon fool. Since I don’t speak with a stammer, I must stammer in thought or think in a stop-n-go style. This could explain a lot about my issues with longer creative pieces. Oddly, my business writing does not suffer nearly as much from these short, staccato uuhh’s damaging my flow – it’s true, I swear! I suspect this is because I find less to hesitate about.
Regardless, useless commas are the most annoying thing about my blogging experience and expound the importance of the editor. In fact, if editors can save me from those maddening track marks, they should get equal, if not higher, credit for the work.
I am often faced with dualities when it comes to blogging. Whenever I see a benefit, there is always an almost equal risk. The blog’s charm is frequency and immediacy. It encourages me to leave the past in the past, write for the present and keep an eye to the future.
However, this freedom doesn’t provide the same level of polish and quality that would come from a traditional, slower form of publication and processing from established publishing companies or larger publications. Lone bloggers generally don’t have editing and marketing talent behind them.
However to that, there is more creative freedom in a less restricted environment such as a blog. I’m grateful for the way social media has loosened me up (a little) to imperfection and being ‘out’ instead of hidden in that small place in this world where I silently write. Social media provides access to a lot of other great writers and ideas as well as venues to develop a personal craft, story and following.
However, the literary arts industry is already small, and possibly shrinking, suggesting that online writers and publishers need to ally themselves with traditional, industry-standard publishers and academic partners to keep this market growing.
However, blogs in a blog aren’t meant to be permanent and often serve as a prelude to more important work or ideas. A cooking blog is meant to guide us to the more important work of cooking rather than admiring the blog (although, there is an unusual trend of people who would rather stare at pictures of good cooking than make it themselves). My literary blog is aimed at chewing on another literary piece or idea not the blog itself. Is it then worth getting a 3rd party editor to go through this stuff? Yes. At this point, I say, yes. Just because those commas are driving me mad! Blogs don’t need to be Nobel-prize winning stuff but they should be clean-er.
OR, one day, writers like me must evolve enough to be as much a 3rd party editor as a writer. Editing while writing is not a good idea because honestly, I don’t think it’s even possible. Writing needs a pair of fresh eyes to be critical about those little details. Could I learn to separate myself from me, after the draft, long enough to be an impartial editor to my own work? That certainly sounds like evolution.
** comma artwork c/o: http://www.clipartpanda.com/categories/comma-clipart