What can we learn from bad writing? Several things, actually, but let’s start with the basics: bad writing is never acceptable. It’s just not. You can always tell when an author is having trouble with language use, and it usually indicates that there’s something more going on than poor writing skills. Some might even go so far as to call it lazy writing, and we think that’s pretty harsh. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes bad writing is the result of trying to be concise, clear, and use the right words. We should all be capable of writing clear, concise, and using the right words, and it would be wonderful if we all achieved that perfectly, every time. But we don’t, and striving for perfection will only cause us disappointment. Sometimes you just have to write what you have, not what you think should be written. Every piece of writing has the potential to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean it has to be. Nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay.
Let’s take a look at some of the things we can learn from bad writing:
Less Is More
A common theme in bad writing is trying to make points through massive amounts of text. Nobody likes a blowhard, and this applies doubly to authors who think that being loud and obnoxious is the best way to get your point across. Nobody wants to read an unwieldy wall of text any more than they want to watch a movie with the sound turned off. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to make a political point or just venting about how your day was, nobody wants to slog through a 300-page book to get there. Especially not when there are so many other books out there on the topic. Everybody wants quick, easy access to information, and the internet has made that possible. If you want to make a political point, there are plenty of books at your disposal that can do that for you. If you want to write about your frustrations, there are plenty of blogs out there for you to vent on. Nobody is an island, and even if they wanted to be, they couldn’t be, because there are always others who want to help. If we want to learn something, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time, because someone else has already done that for us. Learning from others’ mistakes is a powerful tool, and it makes us more effective, not less. Nobody likes a showoff, and that definitely applies to authors who try to impress people by using big words, playing with language, and showing off their education.
Spelling And Grammar
This is one of the most important things we can learn from bad writing, because it tells us that even though the author might be using bad language, he or she is nevertheless taking the time to spell it correctly, which can only mean that they are genuinely trying to convey the meaning behind their words. Many times, spelling and grammar mistakes are an indication that the author is using non-standard English, which can sometimes be mistakenly interpreted as slang, or even worse, a code that only the author’s friends and family will understand. When that happens, the damage to an author’s reputation can be irreparable. Mistakes like that, however, are fairly easy to detect and correct. If you’re writing in English, nobody is going to mistake your slang for authentic English usage – it’s just not going to happen. So, it’s all about what you want to protect, and that, in turn, depends on how much you trust your audience. If you don’t trust your audience, you might not want to give them the opportunity to judge you based on your spelling and grammar, so you could end up putting a stop to your education in English just to keep your job.
Watch Your Language
Sometimes, even when an author tries his or her best to be clear and concise, using the right language can still end up being extremely unclear and a hodge-podge of words and phrases. Even when an author uses the right language, it can still come out all wrong. This is probably because they lack the vocabulary to describe what they mean, or they think that using long, complex sentences will help them explain their point. It’s not an uncommon problem for immigrants, particularly those who have come from non-English speaking countries, to have a difficult time with English. That makes it even more important to watch your language, because you might very well end up using words that they haven’t learned in school yet. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and that reason is usually that they’re true. People from non-English speaking countries are still likely to have a hard time understanding certain types of English, so if you’re not used to using big words, avoid them at all costs. It’s not hard to pick up new words and phrases when needed, and using them properly will only make you seem more intelligent, not less. Your vocabulary will determine how well you speak, and using big words doesn’t reduce your intelligence, it actually enhances it.
Think Before You Write
Sometimes, we think that just because we have something to say that somebody else doesn’t, that it’s okay to just throw it out there without thinking about the consequences or the language we’re using. This is particularly dangerous in the case of political incorrectness, where our tongue-in-cheek remarks can sometimes be misinterpreted as real threats and hued as such by the larger public. In the case of immigrants trying to fit in, it can lead to them being persecuted for the mistakes we make in jest, and that’s never okay.
Thinking before you write can also prevent you from repeating the same mistakes twice. If you’re thinking about what you’re going to say before you say it, you’re less likely to end up saying the wrong thing by accident, and that’s what we call progress. We can all be better at this, and it starts with each of us, individually. We should all be thinking about what we’re going to say before we say it. It might be difficult at first, but that’s what makes it worth it in the end. If we want to get better at something, it usually means that we’re not happy with how we’re currently performing, and that’s a frightening thought – just ask the creators of https://twitter.com/#!/Toadhunter/status/67464896989397088. If we’re not happy with how we’re performing, we might just need to try a little harder, which can only be a good thing.
Being able to detect the bad from the good is an essential skill for anybody in the social media sphere, and that includes bloggers, journalists, and social media managers. Just remember: when in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes, the safest choice is neither to choose at all, but that’s a problem that should never, ever happen. Nobody should be persecuted for speaking their mind, regardless of whether or not we agree with them. It’s the duty of society to protect and promote the rights of all of its members, and that includes the rights to free speech and expression.