A blogging tip I read last year was that a blog post titled “11 Things. . .” will attract more readers than one whose title starts with “10 Things. . .” so that’s what I’ve started doing. I’ve been writing about 11 things I’ve learned about a different subject each month.
I worked on my list of 11 things I’ve learned about writing a couple of months ago. I easily came up with nine things. I forgot to look at that list again until last night. My sister asked me what my blog post was going to be about. When I told her it was supposed to be 11 things I’ve learned about writing but I only had nine things on my list, she said, “I guess you have two more things to learn about writing!” We laughed, and I knew I had to work her quick comeback into the post.
Funny as her response was, I realized that I don’t have two more things to learn about writing. I have 2,000 or 2,000,000 more things to learn about the craft! There will always be something to learn about writing.
11 things I’ve learned about writing
Mine will never be good enough.
Since it is unlikely that my writing will ever measure up to that of the great writers, I should compare my writing today to my writing of yesterday and always look for improvement.
If I wait until my novel manuscript is perfect, it will never be published.
If no one ever reads my southern historical novel manuscript whose working title is The Spanish Coin, I must remember that my efforts were not wasted because I had a blast doing the research and the writing!
There are many rules a novice fiction writer must follow, but established authors don’t have to always abide by those rules.
Have your second novel well underway before you start trying to get your first one published.
To be a good writer, you must be an avid reader of good writing.
There is always room for improvement, so eventually you have to stop editing your work, submit it, and move on to the next project.
Books about the craft of writing don’t all agree on the fine points of writing, so at some point you must rely on your gut and what feels right to you.
Some days words come easier than on other days.
Writing is hard work.
Until my next blog post
Until my next blog post, I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
Everyday is an adjective. (Spell-check wants me to change “everyday” to two words. Don’t trust spell-check.)
Every day is a noun.
Spell-check cannot be trusted when it comes to possessive tense. It thinks every “s” should be preceded by an apostrophe. (Pet peeve alert!)
Anytime is an adverb that means “at any time.” Anytime is sometimes a subordinating conjunction. When used as the latter, it generally means “every time that.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives 1926 as the year the word “anytime” came into general use. It is not found in The Oxford Dictionary.
Any time must be two words when used in an adverbial phrase, such as “at any time” because “at” must be followed by a noun or a noun phrase. (Okay. I admit it. I’m lost!) Bottom line: When in doubt, use “any time.”
When you have placed an apostrophe after a noun that ends in an “s” for more than 50 years, it is difficult to adopt the new practice of adding an apostrophe and an “s” in such cases.
The Chicago Manual of Style is an excellent 1,000-plus-page grammar guide. It will confirm that you know how to write while simultaneously confounding you and teaching you that you haven’t mastered grammar after all.
After being taught that “President” is always capitalized when naming the president of the United States of America, I learned the hard way while editing my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, for Arcadia Publishing in 2014 that The Chicago Manual of Style demands a lower case “p.” I had to swallow my pride and write “president Andrew Jackson” and president Franklin D. Roosevelt” in my postcard book. The new lower case rule will never look correct to me!
The older I get, the less confident I am about spelling.
I’ve learned more about punctuation by studying the craft of writing in my middle age than I learned in school.
As demonstrated by The Chicago Manual of Style, there are way too many grammar and punctuation rules for the English language! I have, no doubt, broken a dozen of those rules in this list of 11 items.
Until my next blog post, I hope you have a good book to read. (***Shameless book promotion alert!*** Have you read The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina? Ask for it at your favorite bookstore, or order it from Amazon.) If you are a writer, I wish you productive writing time.
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On July 22, 2016 I blogged “10 Things I’ve Learned about Twitter.” Since then, I’ve learned 11 more things.
Twitter should come with an owner’s manual or a teenager to teach those of us in our 60s how to use it.
I’d still rather be working on my southern historical novel than writing Tweets.
Twitter continues to be maddening and takes more of my time than I want to give it.
Some days it seems like Twitter is really just a contest to see who can accumulate the most followers.
I grow weary of trying to improve my follower : follow ratio.
There are some things I’d like to Tweet about but I have to be conscious of my author brand.
The older I get, the more I believe I must show my authentic self if I’m going to project my true brand. (Yes, #7 conflicts with #6.)
It’s amazing how many followers from Australia I can pick up by Tweeting in the middle of the night in the USA.
I recently read that you have to manually cut and paste another person’s Tweet in order to retweet it – as well as adding “RT” and the original Tweet author’s username. Who knew? I thought that’s what the “ReTweet” button was for. Hence, the importance of #1 above.
I’d been on Twitter for months when I learned that you need a “header image” as well as a profile picture. How are you supposed to know that since. . . well, please refer to #1 above.
Any link you paste into the Tweet box is automatically shortened to 19 characters. I would have known this months ago if. . . well, please refer to #1 above.
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Until my next blog post in a few days, I hope you have a good book to read. If you are a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.