Allow me to open this article by asking a couple of questions. Do you consider yourself a good writer? If so, how is your spelling and grammar? I ask because there are untold numbers of writers who have terrible spelling and grammar. While this may not seem like such a big deal to some, it’s very important to many of us in the profession. Try to think of it in terms of a surgeon.
If I needed major surgery to correct a congenital heart defect, I would be
very unhappy with a surgeon who had trouble holding small surgical tools. He may get the job done, but he also might cause serious damage to my heart if the scalpel slips out of his hand at just the right time. The same can be said of a writer with poor spelling and grammar.
The Tools of Writing
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, words are the basic tools of writing. How the writer handles his words is very similar to how the surgeon handles his tools. The writer may know everything there is to know about the topic he is tackling, just as the surgeon knows everything there is to know about the heart. But if either the writer or the surgeon is unable to use his tools properly the job could easily be botched.
Furthermore, just like the surgeon continues his education throughout his career, the writer should do the same. For example, using the comma is the bane of my writing existence. But if I expect to be a great writer I must continually pursue educational resources that will not only help me fix this problem, but also give me ideas about how to better work my craft in the future.
Regardless of whether you write professionally or not, the purpose of your writing is to convey to the readers specific thoughts and ideas. Therefore, your reputation is on the line every time you compose a bit of text. If your spelling and grammar are atrocious, you are giving your readers ample reason to not trust whatever it is you’re trying to convey.
If you want readers to seriously consider what you are proposing, it starts with making sure your spelling and grammar are correct. So, as one write to another, please… check your spelling and grammar before you send your work off to be published.