(Note: This is part of the Chicago Now project to have all of us bloggers list "Seven things I know about writing.")
I know what I like and what I don't. I like being creative. I don't like repetitive headlines and numbered lists. (Thus the headline here.)
Technology doesn't make you a better writer. It makes you a faster transmitter. That is not necessarily a good thing.
When a word is no longer being used properly, or when the general population doesn't agree on its proper usage, the idea behind it dies. If it's confused with another word, we may lose two ideas at once. Podium or lectern? Disinterested or uninterested?
When I see or hear words being used poorly, I feel like I'm being deprived of one of my tools. It's just as if my dad's workbench or my mom's sewing machine were missing something.
The least effective thing anyone can tell me is "You know what I mean!" In speaking, at least he can hear me say "No, I don't." In writing, I'm lost.
If someone's writing is a good influence on mine, I'll read (or watch) whatever subject he presents. But writers who are bad influences, whether from foul or poor vocabulary, weak structure, or inexact ideas, lose me. If I happen to love the subject they're failing to present, that hurts.
I can think of whole pieces of music and listen to them in my mind's ear. I can think of rooms where I saw great paintings and other works of art, and I can picture the contents of those rooms in my mind's eye. But when it comes to getting those ideas to another person, I need words.
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