Enough readers have come forward to tell me they enjoy my writing style to inspire me to pledge to become a better writer. But while I’ve cultivated my style over many years, I’m struggling to write well.
Getting better is hard because there is a growing swamp filled with traps that catch & tug against good writing skills. If you’re writing includes blogging, tweeting, emoticons, using spell checkers and grammar checkers, and spewing out texting of all kinds, you are sitting right in that swamp. Each time you succumb to writing without structure, using abbreviated phrases or sentences, slinging out slang, replacing skills and disciplines with technological conveniences, and failing to edit your composition, you are chiseling away at your actual writing skills.
Have you noticed? There is a generation, the texting-generation, that can barely write simple sentences. And forget correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, conjugation, form or anything else resembling the elements of style. I know I sound holier than thou, but at least I know my own skills are in peril. By the way, do they even teach things like sentences diagramming in school anymore? Actually, I wasn’t good at diagramming, but it was one of the studies that helped developed my respect for good writing.
The writing of The Samurai & The Geisha was an internal battle for me. I found myself fighting to suppress the many bad habits I mentioned above. Writing some episodes was very hard at times, especially when I could see ways to improve. And sorry to say, there were some episodes written at blog speed (meaning, basically one pass and publish). In fact, I’ve come to believe frequent blogging really changes your mindset. Nonetheless, I enjoyed writing that story and it has instilled in me a desire to write new and better stories.
People who text with me regularly are probably aware of some of my ugly habits: perennial struggles with comma splices and run on sentences, pushing sentences apart with ellipsis (…), and my succumbing to pressures of spew words ever faster, yanno? whachatink? omg! jk! tc!. I’m not sure I have the strength to fight back the cannibalization of my skills by texting, but when I write stories in the future I hope you’ll let me know if I’m getting better.