Dean Shareski wrote an interesting post last week that continues to rattle around in my brain. Of blogging and other online spaces, he writes:
We need to understand that this space is different, that this medium breaks down the requirements and allows for much quicker and primarily more conversations to take place means we can’t still think about publishing in the same way. I’m not suggested spelling and revision isn’t important but THIS SPACE IS A CONVERSATION, not a monologue. In this space, I have no intention of writing and ending an idea or conversation.
In the comments, Alan Levine (very kindly) offers a well-framed response that aligns with much of my thinking:
We all have different frames for both writing and reading, and I shy away for passing my preferences on others, As a reader, I am in it for the ideas and the personality behind it, not the comma splices or dangling modifiers. Like Andrea suggests, writing is an iterative act of becoming better at it, and we are climbing out own curves: "Growth happens through the doing." yes!To this, I would add in agreement with Alan that we all seem to find different ways to use the same tools at different times. Furthermore, while you say poe-tay-toe and I say poe-tah-toe, your use of any one particular tool may not be any more correct - or even any better - than mine. Herein lies the beauty of a free and open Internet.
As I writer in my own blog, I am writing predominantly for me, as a sketchbook of ideas, a "memory palace" (I cannot remember where that term came from), not some fancy magazine. If someone cannot deal with the style, that's fine for them to move on.
A blog (to me) is not a job interview, it is not a published essay, it is not a literary journal. It is a thinking spot, a rough draft, a place to be wrong and figure it out. (To me) this expectation of perfection and "final product" misses the opportunity for being in that messy place where ideas can emerge (ahem, Where Good Ideas Come From).
I have a small work shed outside and its not a pretty place. There are spilled nails, paint drop,s it smells of things I cannot name, the tools seem to move around, boxes fall from the rafters. A workspace that is spotless, polished, and the tools were hung in alphabetical order, to me is one that focuses more on its own cleanliness for cleanliness sake than for doing work.
Yes, it is important to be understood. And we all (especially me), students, teachers, can always do a little better to write more clearly. But to be compulsive to the point of not publishing seems a huge waste to me.
If you are counting missing commas, you might be missing the point.
Tools are tools, and no amount of nagging will keep me from using a butter knife to quickly tighten a screw when the need arises.
Is spelling important? Not always; and yet sometimes, without question!