Settling for Less in Print

Words are beautiful but they need rulesThis is about typos and publishing. How many typos did you find in the last print book you read? What about the newspaper? Compare that to web publications, blogs included? Do you see a trend?

I can remember when finding a typo in a published book was rare. I wish they were still rare. These days I usually find at least one in each book I read. Often they are obvious typos not just something spell check software could catch but something a human proofreader would have (or should have) noticed and fixed.

On the web there have always been typos, outright spelling and grammar mistakes. On the web we are writers without editors, proofreaders or back up staff. Most of us still write our own sites. We publish, maintain and do our own public relations and marketing too. We are our own tech support and once we leave the keyboard the whole operation leaves with us. So, there are uncaught typos, at the very least.

But the standards overall are slipping. Ignorance is part of it. You don’t need to be hired or pass a test to start publishing on the web. I think this has begun to infect the print publishers too. Why be so careful, so particular if you can get away with a casual typo or a relaxed style of punctuation, spelling and grammar? Why spend all that money hiring proofreaders to maintain a standard which seems to be disappearing?

I don’t like settling for less.

As a reader of print books the errors in print have begun to make me feel cheated. Once I felt I could rely on print publications to learn correct forms of writing. Now, I feel annoyed to pay full price for a book when publishers seem to have abandoned that diligence.

Words are beautiful but they need rules to work well with others.

How to Stop Typing the Blue Alt Characters on your Keyboard

Now and then my fingers stray around on the computer keyboard and I end up clicking a few wrong buttons in a row. Most often this just gives me typos – but, now and then I get my keyboard messed up. It types the wrong characters. I can’t type things like @ or ? and other stuff comes up instead. I’m typing the characters which show up in blue on my keyboard, alternate characters, instead.

This is not something which needs to drive you crazy. The fix is simple!

press hold left ctrl+shift and tap right shift key

via How do I turn off the alternate BLUE keys on my HP keyboard – HP Support Forum – 1426059.

This works! I don’t remember how I fixed the blue character keyboard problem the last two times I’ve had it happen. But, it was something simple like this. It did not involve changing the keyboard language – but that is the tech support advice which comes up most when you search for help.

I am adding this here hoping it will help someone else. Maybe even me the next time it happens.

I’m Posting this with ScribeFire

ScribeFireI’ve tried ScribeFire before. I just didn’t stick with it long enough to find it useful. This time around I’m going to try to give it more time and patience for the learning and setting up process.

Do you use third party software for your online writing/ blogging or web site publishing? I avoid a lot of it. More stuff just makes things complicated and confusing – for me anyway. Keep it simple is one of my favourite mottos.

My first impression of ScribeFire this time around was not great. The site has no updates since 2011. That makes me suspect it is a project which faded out along the way. But, so far it seems to be working. I don’t see spellcheck popping up yet though. I know myself enough to know spellcheck has saved me from hundreds of typos. When spellcheck lights up I (usually) listen.

Blog Standards and Acceptance Guidelines

clevergirlscollectiveI picked this up at Clever Girls. I’m not in the US so I didn’t join. But, reading the standards for blogs was interesting. It’s good to see what other people think, what goals they set. Your goals can be different, of course.

As a side note, isn’t it ironic that when they say “about us” they mean US.  A little Canadian snark isn’t a bad thing.

We Are Currently Seeking Bloggers Who:

Are U.S.-based*

Have a clear point of view

Post only original content

We do not accept sites with re-posted content or cut-and-pasted press releases

Post regularly: approximately once/week

Show evidence of readership engagement (comments, active Twitter and Facebook accounts, etc.)

Have been blogging longer than 6 months and receive at least 1,500 monthly pageviews

Devote 50% or more to original (non-sponsored and non-brand-related) content

Have good, clean design. This means blogs:

Are easy to read, both: in layout (original content should be easy to find) and color scheme (light text on dark backgrounds is not preferred)

Load quickly

Have a standard-sized header (approx 1-2.5″)

Are uncluttered

Host a minimum number of animated badges

Have some design elements: of course, not everyone is a designer (and design is subjective!) but preference will be given to blogs that show attention to detail and personality

In addition, blogs must:

Not display egregious typos or grammatical errors

Have 50% or more of the page design devoted to content, versus ads or badges

Use some language (not photos-only) and some visuals (not words-only)

Have comments enabled on most content-driven posts

via Acceptance Guidelines | Clever Girls Collective | Welcome!.

Misuse of AutoCorrect for Fun and Writing Exercise

I haven’t used auto correct in years. I’d forgotten about it, other than catching the odd post on Facebook laughing at some mistake made. I assumed it they were actual typos, not done by the computer ‘fixing’ words it assumes are errors.

Damn You AutoCorrect

How many funny or silly autocorrect errors can you create? Without the aid of software, other than the software between your own ears. 

 

How to Give an Old Post New Energy

7 ways to update an old post with some new energy:

1. Revamp the title.

2. Give it a fresh introduction.

3. Use a call to action. Give people a purpose and a motive.

4. Add depth with illustrations, maybe a video (I’m not a fan of them myself), format points as a list, etc.

5. Quality control. Proofread for typos and check your links for linkrot.

6. Add more information, update the information you’ve already got.

7. Leave a fresh comment on the post, even if it means the first comment is your own.

Do You Have a Posting System?

This comes from Founder Tips: Ali Luke Explains How You Can Become a Better Blogger By Becoming a Better Writer

My posting system looks like this:

  1. Come up with ideas. I try to get several at a time – I keep a list on my computer that I add to when I’ve got a few minutes to sit and brainstorm.
  2. Write an outline for the post. My outlines always have “introduction” at the start and “call to action” at the end. In the middle, I’ll have a few key points – these often become subheadings. If I’m planning a list post, I’ll brainstorm the items for the list and juggle them around to find the best order.
  3. Draft the post (following the outline). I try to do this in one sitting, so I don’t lose my train of thought. If I’m working on a really big post, though, I might do different sections on different days. When I’m drafting, I don’t worry too much about writing perfect sentences or using correct grammar: I can fix any problems in the editing stage.
  4. Edit the post. Quite often, I’ll leave a post for a few hours or even overnight so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes. I always find some things that I want to change – sentences to cut out or rewrite, for instance. This is a good chance to look out for typos, too.
  5. Publish and promote the post. It might seem a bit odd to include this in a writing system, but a big part of any sort of writing involves getting your message out to an audience. Personally, I don’t feel like my writing is complete until it has readers.

This is my system too. But I don’t put too much time into an outline. I start the draft and build the format as I go. Usually I’m working on the draft while I do the research, fact checking and formatting how the post will look.

Moving Forward in Life?

This came in a locally delivered newsletter. No credit given to whoever wrote it originally so I don’t know who or where it came from.

Are We Moving Forward in Life?

Well, that’s a silly question, isn’t it? Life and time moves forward and onward with or without us!

Life can pull us along and we can allow it to take us where it leads us. In doing so we will surrender control to anyone who happens to drift into our path.

Or, we can take control and move life forward under our own sail. We can take control and go where we want to go.

Taking control will require some effort and even some sacrifices. Firstly, we will have to believe in ourselves, know that we really can be the masters of our life. This will not always be easy because once we set in motion the actions required to change the direction challenges, obstacles  and setback will happen, it will be our belief in ourselves that will get us through.

Next we need to adjust our attitude, we need a can-do, positive frame of mind. Eliminate negative thoughts and feelings of being undeserving or inadequacy. Keep our mind firmly focused on where we want to go and what we are looking to achieve. We must be prepared to take risks and realize that risks are necessary to achievement, as are a few failures along the way. even the turtle doesn’t move ahead unless he sticks his neck out.

Finally we need a total commitment to change. Change ourselves, our thinking, our action, our words even some of our associations.

If we adopt these steps in gaining control of where our life is headed we will: catch the wind in our sails, ride the current and become the master of our own life.

It’s all up to you!

Blame any typos on me. I was testing my speed typing skills when I typed this from the original. I still don’t know what my actual speed is but I’m getting better at typing from copy. Speed comes from not second guessing yourself so much as you type it.

For the A – Z Blogging Challenge… L is for Life

One Word – Shape

One Word – The word for the day was “shape”. You get a minute to write whatever comes into your head. How much you write depends on how fast you type and how much you think of while you still have time to type it. I was impressed with my lack of typos. I must be getting better.

What would you be inspired to write about the word “shape”?

Are you Your Own Grammar Nazi?

How tough are you on your own spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos? I think everyone should be watching for mistakes. Whether English is your first language or not, if you are using English you should be able to have basic skills. At the very least you should not be letting stuff get by that spellcheck would have caught. Spellcheck isn’t perfect but it does know quite a bit. Why would anyone choose to ignore it or not use it at all?

I do think we are all going to have mistakes at some point, however. Unless you are an English major in university or a paid editor somewhere, we are all going to miss something somewhere. Do your best, use the tools at hand and proofread, self edit and get a friend to check it over now and then. Another person might catch something you don’t realize you are missing.

How are you on proofreading your own writing? Are you your worst grammar Nazi nightmare or do you tend to be pretty casual about it all?

Quoted from Darice de Cuba posting to the 9Rules Blog:

I would like to note that I don’t like what they call grammar nazi’s. Mistakes happens all the time and unless you have an editor or two going over your posts you should not be too hard on yourself.