Writing snob asks: what do YOU think?

April 5, 2013
NY Times

I’m a writing snob. So, shoot me.

Not only have I been a writer since childhood, but I trained to write. Trained as in college tuition and, over the years, workshops. Spent years developing my craft.

Wrote under clients’ names and my own. Got paid for it, too. Didn’t just send poorly written stuff to free online outlets. Got paid actual money by actual publications. Worked with real editors.

Taught writing in a college, too.

There are still a few of us out there, people who believe in grammar, the proper use of words, that an essay published in an “official” outlet should have a flow that makes sense rather than simply flood the screen with self-indulgent bloggy emotion and sentences in which subjects don’t agree with verbs.

I’d say “page,” but those days are long gone. Or soon will be.

There is a general cheapening of the craft these years, and it makes me sad. I could produce paragraph after paragraph about self-published books so bad they should have never seen the light of day, so bad that to use Amazon’s See Inside! function is to risk going blind. I’ve even seen really great self-published writing that could have used an editor’s eye.

Lots of bad writing out there. But today’s post calls to your attention a piece that can be found in HERE.  Henry Hitchings in the New York Times’ Opinionater talks about buzz words, those annoying verbs that are used as nouns today.  

It’s about terms like these: “The take-away.”   “The reveal.”  “The ask.”  And how these verbs–and they have been verbs for hundreds of years– have now become nouns.

Hitchings says he doesn’t demonize these nominalizations. He looks at the psychology in the development of the language and points out nuances in meaning that come from these new verb-clothes for nouns. His view is more practical, as you’ll see if you read his essay.

Which, by the way, is beautifully crafted and a pleasure to read.

As for me, well, I see way too much bad writing these days, so I’m a little sensitive on the subject. Plus, I come out of Silicon Valley, home of the buzz word.

I know many writers read this blog and I make no apology for my own bloggy writing, which is often different from the writing I might do for “official” outlets.  After all, this is my blog and I can be as self-indulgent as I like.

But, I’m curious. Writers, what do you think about the state of our craft today? Would love to know.

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