What your writing says about you

Posted by on Sep 17, 2011 in Blog, Communication, Composition, Editing | 0 comments

Being of a “certain age,” I receive the monthly AARP magazine. And being a bit of a word-aholic and information junkie, I read it – all.  In the section where readers get the publication to resolve financial complaints, Ron Burley wrote this about company they were investigating:

Shoddy presentations

“The handouts were full of misspellings,” she remembers, and she sent us the proof. The firm’s website also has careless errors.

The obvious connotation was that the company was unprofessional and schlocky – and careless. Hmm. All that from the words offered to potential clients and every onlooker that accesses its website.

Red pen corrections make writers cringe.

As a young person growing up in a completely other (now foreign) time, the importance of spelling and correct grammar was drilled into me. Red ink scratched out or circled every error in assignments and I made it a mission to reduce – or preferably, eliminate – the bleeding of my work. Later, I was informed that boys were less concerned – after all, they expected to grow up and have secretaries who would make sure all the corrections were made so they “looked good.” Then came spell check and well, the rest is history.

However, the problems of poor spelling and grammar and unclear prose are still rampant – just read a few website pages or newsletters. Is it less important now that people write in abbreviations (How r u? Let’s go 2 eat b4 u go 2 work.)?

I don’t think so.

A well-written message that is error-free speaks volumes about the author. It reflects professionalism, organized thinking, careful attention to detail and respect for the reader.

Even for the best spellers and clearest thinking writers errors happen. In addition to the cursory help given by software that underlines or highlights errors – or even auto-corrects some typographical errors – every writer must get into the habit of proofreading.

Yes, proofreading is the “magic” fix.

A long time ago, I figured it out and adopted this phrase in a variety of forms:

Professionalism is presented through careful proofreading.

If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, pay attention to what words you send out to represent you – give them a second – or third – look before hitting SAVE and especially, before hitting SEND.

Or, save all the time and effort and worry it costs you – hire a professional writer.

Just think about it!

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