Writing – how hard can it be?

I had a slight setback a couple of weeks ago. I found out I can’t write. I always suspected there was more to this writing business than just sitting down in front of the baby laptop and press the keys in an intricate and varied pattern. There is.

I applied to do something. Which something is not important, but I was found wanting. Hardly surprising, seeing as I’m bold enough to think I can get away with communicating in my second language.  

‘An assessed score of 80% or above is necessary for acceptance. Your assessed score was :   70 %.  Applications are assessed on … communication skills (good written English, spelling, grammar etc) presentation and layout. The test revealed that your spelling, grammar and punctuation were below the required standard.’

It grates a little that this was from filling in a form riddled with spelling mistakes. But as you can see for yourselves, I have a fondness for incomplete sentences and sometimes use made-up words. But I do it on purpose. 

I’m reminded of Mary Hoffman’s recent moan about lolspeak. I don’t speak lol myself, but try to understand it when it appears. That in turn reminded me of Son’s toddler years when we regularly went to the local hospital to check a suspected squint. Tests were of the kind where the poor child was handed a dotty black and white picture and told to point to the ‘pussy’. As he failed, I said to staff that they could try asking him if he could see a cat. I had never used the word pussy, so how could he know?

Anyway, back to my other failures. I have calculated that I seem to be writing around 175,000 words per year. If they were good ones, that could amount to a book. Us 70% types shouldn’t aspire so high, though. Just think if I was Mma Makutsi, with 97%.

Which brings me (almost) neatly to my other obsession; namely you. As soon as I think of my readers I get very nervous and don’t know what I’m doing. It’s like riding a bike; you wobble a lot less once you stop thinking about it. But when people I admire write to me to say that they think this blog is good, I am pleased and nervous in equal measures. At least we now all know I can’t write. So nothing to worry about.

Back with more rubbish tomorrow.

11 responses to “Writing – how hard can it be?

  1. Don’t do yourself down, Bookwitch. You have a uniquely brilliant writer’s ‘voice’. If you didn’t, nobody would be reading your blog.

    So, nyaaaa pooo to the pourers of cold tea and the dishers out of marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. She said, inelegantly.

  2. You write VERY, VERY WELL. Keep doing it.

  3. Can’t write? Are they serious?

    Evidently they can’t test.

  4. 1.I like the way you write; that is why I have your blog bookmarked.
    2.175,000 is 3 books.

  5. So you can´t write? I think that means I can´t read which explains why we get on quite well (at least I think we do but then, what do I know?)

  6. You’re far too modest, Bookwitch! Maybe part of the secret of writing is not to give in to the anxiety that afflicts us all about the quality of what we write, but just to keep trying to get better.

  7. Right, that’s the six of you I paid to say something kind today. Thank you.

    Hilary – three books? Wow.

    Ruth – maybe it was a computer, and what do they know?

    Dorte – you’re a foreigner, too, so how come you think you can read? Of course we get on well. Surprising since Danes don’t like Swedes.

    Martin – anxiety lives in this house.

    Tim and Debi – it’ll be some witch potion I’ve administered.

  8. Hey, I’m new to this blog, so there is no possibility that you’ve paid me.

    As we’ve noticed of some of our favorite crime writers, consider the possiblity that you write too well in this secondary language for the standardized tests to get.

    No wobbling!

  9. Seana – the cheque’s in the post. And very nice to see you here. I went sightseeing over at your little collection of blogs a while back. How many blogs can one person keep going?

    The one with the unusual words ought to suit me, but I think my need for new words is a level or two lower than yours. I sometimes believe I will actually sit down with a thesaurus, but that’s like going on a diet. Won’t happen anytime soon.

  10. adele geras

    Take absolutely NO NOTICE AT ALL…..
    Listen to the fans not the bureaucrats.

  11. Thanks for the welcome, Bookwitch –that check is going to come in very handy.

    You know it isn’t very hard to keep four blogs going when you aren’t all that diligent about any of them.

    I think the words one is the most popular, if by popular you mean that maybe more than five people occasionally read it. But it’s funny, I’m not really a vocabulary builder by nature either. I just started thinking about all the words and other things that I think I know about and then realize I don’t at all. Anyway, thanks for wandering around there.

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