On Grammer (And Yes, I Know I Spelled Grammar Wrong)Written by Joseph Devon
There has been a growing trend, in academic circles and in my own life, to place grammar and its larger rules upon an impeachable pedestal. A growing number of people who seem to cling to rules of grammar as if its only through memorization of these rules and strict adherence to them that proper communication can be achieved. To these people I have but one word: Hogwash. The application of grammatical rules is not holy grail of writing world. If anything exact opposite is true and it is nothing but silly to pretend otherwise. There have been far too many different great works in far too many different phases of these rules to believe that standards we have now are entirely correct and always will be. Joyce never used quotation marks, Melville loved run-on sentences, and Kerouac barely even seems to be speaking English at times. Should we assume that these authors and their works are no longer worth reading because they do not adhere to strict grammatical rules in use today? Or, even worse, should we retroactively edit their words, changing their concept of what they wrote so that every quotation mark follows a comma and semicolons are used correctly? Of course not. These works should no more be touched than arms should be affixed to Venice De Milo. They were created when different rules applied, and this should be respected. But this does not mean that those different rules are antiquated versions of written word when compared to what we have now and that today’s standard is correct one. Today’s standard is simply phase we are slipping through at moment, and it is bound to change as well. The rules of grammar should be like rules of law, stable but never standing still. To create a system of rules for writing and yoke written word to these rules is going about things backwards. Writing comes first and then rules, not other way around. Those rules are in place to aid writing, not to stifle it, and they should bow out gracefully once world has moved on without them. They work for us, as I’ve said, not other way around. This notion of rules stepping aside for writers is not a request, I should point out; it is an out and out threat. Experimentation with literature and unavoidable influence of spoken word on writing insures that language will continue to shift and change, and if these rules and people who cling to them will not yield, then they must be broken. The stricter set of rules is, smaller your reachable audience becomes, either in time, or in space, or in both. Let’s say that a unique thought about life occurs to you in abstract, and that you then put voice to this thought. And let us say that you construct most perfect sentence in impeccable Queen’s English to express this thought. You have now encapsulated it for transmission to other people and you will be understood completely over three continents. The only problem is you have alienated rest of world. Nobody who speaks Chinese, or Greek, or Russian or Spanish will understand you. Likewise, a century from now your words will seem somewhat quaint. Two hundred years from now they’ll be downright archaic. The use of language for self-expression is an act that began back during our days of living in caves. It was, and is, a much needed way of communicating thoughts and ideas to those around us by creating an agreed upon methodology for this communication. But, again, it is used to communicate with those around us, those with same agreed upon terms, and those terms are radically different as world, and shared experiences of those in world, begin to vary with space and time. It’s only natural. Language changes over space, and lingo changes over time. The more you specify your rules for communicating, smaller your audience becomes and any attempt to actually lock those rules down into an unchanging law will only result in suffocation of communication, not perfection of it. Or we can go back and look towards my previous comparison of rules of grammar to rules of law. They are not very different, after all. The law has a strict set of definitions and rules for words so that minimal subjective interpretation is allowed. People go to school for years to, in part, learn this strict language, and that is my point entirely. The stricter rules, more learning is required to apply them, and more expertise is then required to interpret them, and thus, audience becomes smaller as less and less people have acquired skill needed to communicate…and that is not self-expression. Self-expression needs to breath. And, in some strange way, self-expression needs ability to be misunderstood.
Writing for Dollars - How to get StartedWritten by Heidi Richards, MS
“When you provide good information from which readers can learn and profit, people are more likely to buy your products and services.”
- Heidi Richards -
So just how do you get started? The first step, of course is to write article. The second step is to find right medium. I have a small business in floral industry. So floral community would be my first likely target. Industry experts are generally most sought after writers for targeted publications. Since I write mostly about sales and marketing for small business, my second likely medium would be business-related publications, such as those published by Chambers of Commerce, small business journals and other retail industry publications.
I have also found that each type of media that has printed my articles has different criteria for submission. Some want you to send a letter outlining your ideas while others will allow you to submit actual article. However, most editors prefer that you send a query letter first and include a paragraph about yourself. I also include a link to both my websites in case they want additional information. However, many ezines and online publications allow you to send actual article. Visit your library, online or local bookstore or do an Internet search with words query letters for “how to’s” of writing them.
It should go without saying that article must be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. A publisher is looking for quality content that will make her or him look better to reader. The more unique your article, better your chances of getting it published. Real-life, personal examples and stories have a much greater chance of getting published than do “book reports.” Make sure article is yours! No plagiarism allowed. If you do copy someone else’s work, not only will you open yourself up to all sorts of legal problems, you will destroy any credibility you hoped to establish.
Whether you write articles for print media or for online publications, follow these guidelines to increase your likelihood of getting them published.
P Read publication. Become familiar with writing styles and content. It took several months, before one of my articles was accepted by Balance Magazine. It was an article on leadership, which they liked and found space to include. Because I was patient, tenacious and had developed a relationship with editor, I was asked to be South Florida Profile Editor and now write an ongoing series of articles called PMS Principles™. I interview successful women in South Florida and write their stories. What a great way to gain exposure! By way, PMS stands for Partnering, Mentoring and Service, which is also title of a new book I am writing.
P Send your article to assistant editor when there is one. You will find her or him listed in publication.
P Ask publication for their editorial calendar (often found on their website). An editorial calendar lists “focus” or theme of each issue. This is a great tool to use when deciding what to write and submit.
P Find out submission requirements (writer’s guidelines). These will include length of article, format, number of words, do’s and don’ts, as well as deadlines for submission. In some cases it will also include writer’s compensation, if and when they pay for articles.