Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

I was led to a blog post recently by someone on Facebook, and the blog post was supposed to be inspirational. I do believe, based on the title of the blog post, that it was about learning to trust in God's timing instead of my own. However, I really could not get anything of import out of the blog post, because I was too busy nitpicking all that was wrong with the post. The paragraphs were bulky. Many of the sentences seemed to be missing important words from them, such as "the" and "then." The post seemed to be all over the place. The post seemed to have sentences in there that had nothing to do with anything.

As I sat there analyzing that blog post that was meant to serve as an inspiration to women who stumbled across it, I realized something. I "can't see the forest for the trees." I often get caught up in nitpicking the details of things written online if I think they are poorly written, which causes me to miss the bigger picture. In this case, the bigger picture is that this lady took her time to write an inspirational message online for others to read.

This got me wondering; is my nitpicking a good thing, a bad thing, or somewhere in between? Should I stop nitpicking and simply try to glean from articles what the author is trying to convey? Should I continue nitpicking and miss the messages, because people who write poorly don't deserve to have their message accepted anyways? Or, should I continue to nitpick, but also try to glean from articles what the author is trying to convey?

I came to the conclusion the latter is the best option. I am by no means a brilliant writer, and I make grammar mistakes, and can be quite the rambler at times. However, I do make an effort to write well enough that people can understand what I am trying to say. I believe that if a person is going to make an effort to put a message out on the internet for others to benefit from, then they should also make an effort to make that message as understandable as possible through decent grammar and organization. Also, if a person who learned English as a second language can write articulate, nearly impeccable articles online, then by golly, we native English speakers should be able to write decent articles as well. It's kind of embarrassing to read his articles actually, because he seems to have better grammar than me.

So, internet people, please proofread and edit your articles before posting them online. I'm not asking for perfection. I'm simply asking for articles that make sense. Add in paragraph breaks. Create decent sentences that aren't missing important words. Organize your thoughts into a clear message (unless you're ranting. Rants are usually rather rambly). Research tense agreement. I'm not asking for a grade-school essay with an Introduction containing a thesis statement, Body Paragraphs with transitions, and a Conclusion that restates your thesis. A general road map without potholes throughout would be nice, though.

All that being said, I will leave you with this lovely article: The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers. While this article seems to be aimed at professional writers, I do believe it can be beneficial to anyone who uses writing as a regular means of conveying thoughts to the outside world.