Texting and e-mailing are great ways to communicate. They offer a simple, convenient, and quick way to write and receive messages. Like everyone else, I love being able to communicate by text or e-mail, not just in my personal life but especially in my writing life.
There is a downside, though. These useful communication tools can adversely affect the quality of my writing. They can make me lazy or even loose with my spelling, grammar, and style. And this can hurt me professionally.
At least I know I’m not alone. Just browse the Internet and you’ll see how lax writing has become. Maybe this trend doesn’t matter for some people. But for those of us who need to keep our writing in top form, we can’t afford to let technology weaken our craft. To make sure I don’t, here’s what I do: edit, edit, edit. And then I edit some more.
Usually, I can catch errors and clean up my writing before it goes public. Usually. But I also know what I’m looking for. If you’re wondering whether you’ve fallen prey to the problem, check out these 10 red flags:
- You use fragments rather than complete sentences.
- You don’t spell out numbers when you should, or you use numbers for words.
- Your punctuation is sparse—commas are left out, capitalization rules are ignored.
- You write hastily, scrambling to finish and never looking back.
- Your spelling has deteriorated (you rely too much on spell checkers).
- You go crazy with exclamation points (which should be used rarely, if at all, in formal writing).
- Brevity in your writing is extreme.
- You use cyber slang, abbreviated words, and too many colloquialisms.
- You don’t separate your writing into paragraphs.
- You rarely use salutations or address people by name.
In this new tech age, we writers have to be extra alert. Texting and e-mailing may make our lives easier, but the benefits of speed and convenience can come with a price.
Image by Intel Free Press