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Friday, January 20, 2012

Really? But you’re a writer…


Writers are a talented bunch of people, there is no denying this. I’m a writer and I’m surprised at all the things I should be good at—but I’m so NOT.

When people hear about my weaknesses I swear they are thinking—Really? But you’re a writer. So here is a brief list of a few of my shortcomings.

Spelling—I suck at spelling. I try and try, but the spelling part of my brain must be filled with something else (probably the plots from Law and Order). I’m seriously thinking of getting NECESSARY tattooed on my arm. That bugger kills me every time.

 Words with Friends—I should be good at that stinking game! But I’m not. My husband slaughters me. I think it's because I would rather play a cool word like zygote for 19 points instead of a boring word like qi for a billion. Sometimes I resort to cheating (don’t tell my husband), but I don’t feel too bad because he still beats me.

Education—I think people assume that writers will have a English or Creative Writing degrees. I have neither. In fact I don’t have a degree at all (shh, don’t tell the agents). I’m planning on going back to school. Maybe I will go when my oldest goes. He would love that :)

Eye sight—Okay this one is a stretch, but you have to see to be a writer. Hours spent in front of the computer and with my nose in a book have messed up my eyesight. I just got glasses. My 6 year old thinks I look like a geek.


So what about you? What skill do you lack? Tell me so I won’t feel so lame.

-Angie

Hey I'm over at the lovely Tara Tyler's blog today doing an interview and guest post about How To Be A Good Critique Partner. So if you have time come check it out.

40 comments:

Sarah Pearson said...

Punctuation! I use way too many commas and I love semi-colons, even though I don't know how to use them :-)

Trisha said...

This isn't necessarily related to writing (though could make for some cool enhancements to existing manuscripts of mine I guess) but I totally SUUUUCCCK at science, maths, that kind of thing. It runs in the family, though I must admit some others in my family are decent (one guy is even a bit of a genius) at maths. So maybe it's a recessive gene only some of us inherit. haha

Christine Danek said...

My grammar stinks, especially my punctuation. So embarrassing. I also can't see (I'm blind as a bat) and my degree is in interior design. :)

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

I don't have any technical understanding of grammar... Like, I can't tell you what a dangling participle is, or define modifiers and [insert other grammar-y term]. I've always gotten As on my college essays, but I only follow grammar rules that have been internalized from years and years of reading. I don't understand it at all, and anytime I am in a situation where I am expected to critique grammar (helping a friend grading papers, or hanging out with someone who is learning English), I am at a complete loss.

And that's what I always hear: "Really? But you're a writer!"

Ha, nice to know I'm not alone!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Oh, I love new glasses!

I can't see the mistakes in my own text nearly as well as I would like, but I am an English teacher and spend my days pointing them out for others. Bizarre!

Meredith said...

I would definitely tattoo "marriage" on my arm--I always want to spell it marraige. And punctuation rules so I don't add too many commas. Silly grammar rules. :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I don't have a degree either. :) And I use way too many commas. My downfall I think. And I LOVE Words With Friends!

Rena said...

Oh man, I have so many shortcomings as a writer! I'm dyslexic, so forget the spelling. I have only ever just barely passed my English classes. I love big words, but I have a crummy vocabulary.

And yeah, I have no idea what the past perfect tense is, so if anyone comes up to me and says "Write something in past perfect, or I'm going to go kill puppies!" those puppies are done for.

I'm told by my English major friends that I have a severe problem with omitting commas (I come from the great comma drought of the nineties, apparently).

Yeah, this could get long fast, so I'll just stop there. Yes, there's a ton of stuff I'm working on, but by no means am I good at it yet.

ilima said...

I have a hard time staying in the same tense. It's such a simple thing, but it slips more often than I would like.

Emily R. King said...

Where do I begin?
I like to tell it how it is, but that doesn't fly in writing.
I hate revising, which is probably why I'm ALWAYS revising.
And I still think I should be able to write a book from front to back ALL BY MYSELF! If I receive help from anyone, I feel like a total loser.
There you are, my top three flaws as a writer. Good thing I'm young. There might be hope for me yet!

Emily R. King said...

BTW, cute glasses. I think you look adorable!

Ruth Josse said...

Look how cute you are! I look stupid in glasses. Mostly because I can't find a flattering frame that will accommodate the thicko lenses I have to have. Yeah, I'm pretty blind.

I suck at A LOT of things. Housekeeping, cooking, being organized...the list goes on. :)

Laura Josephsen said...

That's not lame at all. :D My husband beats me all the time at Scrabble. He kicks butt at Words With Friends, too, but I avoid playing that one. ;) He finds all the places to make a ton of points and I...don't.

I've been wearing glasses for years. You look great. :D

I didn't go to college. I still write and I've worked as an editor. Some things, you learn to do outside of the classroom.

I'm terribly absentminded. TERRIBLY. Particularly when I'm sucked into writing and/or editing.

Cassie Mae said...

I think I am all of those things too! Necessary is my nemesis. (And ya, I had to use spell check)

Deana said...

You look gorgeous in those glasses! And I think you are my twin with all these things that you don't do. Everything on your list, is on mine:) Maybe we can go back to school together when we're old and gray:)

Jenny S. Morris said...

I would die if it wasn't for spell check and sound stupid all the time.

Cute picture!

Christine Rains said...

You're not lame at all. I know several writers who have the same problems. I have horrible vision. I just recently got my first pair of bifocals. Geez, I feel so old. Your glasses look really cute!

prerna pickett said...

no degree here, either. But in writing, a degree means nothing if you suck at it. And the spelling thing. Yeah, so glad I have spellcheck.

Melanie Fowler said...

I think we could be friends, but maybe not crit. partners, because I have the same 'weaknesses' although I like to think of them as quirks. Ok so maybe not. But I'm not very good at spelling either. BUt that's why we write, so we can better ourselves.

Freya Morris said...

My spelling is terrible, along with my vocab! Terrible writer in that sense. So I always tell myself - it's about the storytelling, right?

I guess I like writing because its a challenge. I will try harder than anyone (until I'm blue in the face) at something I am not great at because I feel inadequate (just spell checked that because I wasn't convinced I was right). I remember having bad grades all year in Theology A level, thinking I would get a C in my exam at the end of the year. I worked so hard all year but still got C's/D's in each essay. I worked my ass off, hoping the next time that I would hit jackpot.

I took the exam - got the result - got an A. It was then that I realised, it wasn't me, but my teacher. I'd finally proved him wrong and he acted SURPRISED! But then I had no more motivation and a teacher I didn't trust. I'm not sure what point I'm making anymore.... *tip toes away*

Melissa Sugar said...

I am horrible at spelling (I love it when bloggers comment section has spell check). The weird thing, I used to be a really good speller. I think my brain must be fried. Or maybe it is because we no longer have to really think or concentrate on spelling because wow processors do it all for us. My kids are also bad at spelling and I blame text messages for that. They have so many weird spellings and abbreviations for words that they no longer spell them out correctly.

This was an interesting post.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm a pretty good speller but punctuation? Eh, not so much.

I think I should be better at Scrabble than I am - I'm not as quick with those letter tiles because I'd rather make up a story or something with them instead. :)

And glasses? Been wearing them since third grade (not the same pair, obviously!)

Tara Tyler said...

i get tongue tied and cant think of the right word way too often and i'm a mixed meta-cliche machine!
these faults make me doubt my writing worthiness...

so glad to have you over at my blog =)

and play wwf w/ me! "taratylertalks"

hav a great wknd!

Heidi Windmiller said...

Yuck...spelling. I so struggle with spelling. When I was teaching, I would always use abbreviations on the overhead so I didn't have to struggle spelling things out. Cheating? Absolutely.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Welcome back, Angie. Good to see you again.

I used to tutor reading for a college class I took. Our instructor said she firmly believed that spellers are born. You just can't teach it. lol That's what dictionaries and google is for.

Imogen said...

I'm really bad at proof-reading my own work. Plus I can't spell necessary either (do you know how hard I had to think to write that properly?) Good thing someone invented spell checker!

Kelley said...

I really don't know grammar at all. At all, at all. I've never diagramed a sentence. I know what a noun is...haha.

Oh, and spelling. Not good. But Engineers aren't supposed to be able to spell so I inherited that feature from my 'engineer side'. :)

McKenzie McCann said...

Oh my gosh, spelling. I'm bad at that too, but I don't care too much. The computer gods invented spell check for a reason.

I'm a slow reader, bad with computers, and I should be more well-read than I am. I tell myself it's okay not to be incredibly well-read as a high school student, but I feel like I should take a bigger role in hunting down classics and a variety of genres.

Melissa Sarno said...

LOVE the glasses. I am terrible at crosswords puzzles and scrabble. I've never tried Words With Friends because I know it would be an embarrassment. You are not alone.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

The longer I write, the worse I spell. I really don't know why, but I used to be pretty good, and now I need spell check for everything. I also use commas more than I should, and have been having grammar issues. Thankfully, grammar check catches a lot of them.

tfwalsh said...

I couldn't agree more... I have many writer faults, but that makes us human. Right? What I dislike most is when I may not know what a word means... I admit, I haven't memorised the dictionary, and someone says, but you should know that because you're a writer... Hmm. Great post.

Sara Bulla said...

You know most of my writing flaws! :) Where do I begin? Grammar? Spelling? Oh so many! I do have a degree, but it's not in writing either. Your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses. And weaknesses and flaws keep us real - right?:)

J. A. Bennett said...

I totally suck at spelling too, lol!

Sara said...

I learned in college, if I replace all of my commas with periods I have very few comma splices and only a few sentence fragments. Seriously, I tried that with a few papers, and grades went from C's to A's.

Sara said...

I am a horrible speller. Absolutely horrible. My grammar used to be much worse, but I befriended an English teacher, and once she realized that I genuinely wanted to learn how to get better (she teaches high school english, none of her kids want to learn english) she started to teach me.

My vocab isn't the best either.

Jessie Humphries said...

I can never spell: wierd, thier, soccor, or tommorrow right! Every effin time I get them wrong. My brain and fingers just never learn!

Gwen said...

We're twins! I also suck at spelling, and Scrabble (I've recently started playing Words with Friends and am losing to an engineer by 100 points. Shouldn't I have the advantage in that game?), I'm half-way to legally blind, and have no official training in writing. I also don't do crosswords very well. I cheat all the time.

Gwen said...

Also, it's good to see you back and (I'm assuming) healthy.

Miranda Hardy said...

I'm practically perfect in every way. Ok, so I'm not Mary Poppins, but I'm pretty darn close. Perhaps my degree is more on the business (accounting and finance) sice...and my confidence level isn't up to par. And my grammar isn't up to par. And my editing skills isn't up to par....

Fine, I'm almost practically perfect in every way.

Christa said...

I can be quite uncreative when it comes to business during dialogue. Sometimes, I reread my stuff and think, Oh look, he's doing THAT again, how original!

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