One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

ASK RONI Q&A

“A professional blogger should not be making these kind of mistakes.” – My Response

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Did you know it’s National Grammar day? Probably NOT the best time to respond to this question but here goes…

Hi Roni,

I really really hope this email does not insult you because that is definitely not what I am trying to do. I just want to help.

I read your blog and your cooking blog all the time and I LOVE them. They have helped me a whole bunch over the past year to achieve my 75lb weight loss and reach my lifetime at Weight Watchers. So thank you.

I have noticed that you are a professional blogger and I respect and envy that so much. Unfortunately, sometimes, you have grammatical errors in your writing and it makes me cringe every time I see them. A professional blogger should not be making these kind of mistakes. Anyway, I am SO SORRY if this is offending you.

So here’s the problem. You often use the word "your" wrong. It is often in place of where "you’re" or "you are" should be.

Here is a link that tells you the difference

Here are some links to pages/tweets that are WRONG:

http://greenlitebites.com/2011/03/02/silky-single-serve-nacho-cheese
Example: "Your done! Start dipping!"

http://greenlitebites.com/2010/12/16/chocolate-almond-macaron-ish-halves
Example: "…or perfect holiday cookies to give as gifts, sorry your out of luck."

https://twitter.com/#!/RoniNoone/status/43017759734497280
https://twitter.com/#!/RoniNoone/status/42662157464240128

I mean the mistake is not made very often, but I am sure silly anal people like me notice every time :(

Now, I completely understand if you do not care about these errors, but I just thought I should point them out, incase you did not know you were making them.

Again, I am sorry and I truly hope you are not offended and you don’t hate me.

Carolynne

Hi Carolynne,

I’m not offended at all and I would never HATE you. That’s is such a strong word. I welcome constructive criticism and try my best not to take it personally.

Let me start this response with a loud and clear… I know. *sigh*

  • I know I’m not the world’s best writer.
  • I know I have zippy ability to self edit.
  • I know I don’t see fine details in words.
  • I know I write too fast and hit publish WAY too soon.

I also know the difference between…

  • You’re and Your,
  • Their, They’re and There,
  • Loose and Lose,
  • its and it’s, and
  • then and than (most of the time.)

I will admit, however, I do not know…

  • when to use an m-dash vs parentheses,
  • what the heck a past participle is,
  • when it’s acceptable to start a sentence with "And" or "But", or
  • the proper way to start a list (I’m pretty sure it’s NOT "…" which is what I use all the time)

Note: The I-don’t-know-list is probably a lot longer but I don’t even know what I don’t know and I’m not ashamed to admit it. As we are establishing, English is not my best subject.

I write from the heart and it’s almost identical to the way I talk–fast and with a lot of slang. Even though I’m a "professional blogger" I’m not a "professional writer" and in my opinion there is a HUGE difference.

I don’t have an editor, an agent, a publicist, a boss or even a co-worker to run my work by. Every decision I make is my own. Every mistake is out there for the world to see. I’m not polished and that’s sort of the point of what I do. I’m not creating a fake image or only sharing airbrushed photos of myself. I’m transparent, raw and real.

I post about my experiences and my life the best way I know how. I believe my thoughts, ideas and experiences are worth sharing even with all spelling and grammatical errors.

Readers point out my mistakes all the time and I fix them. See below…

No biggie from my perspective. I’ve decided long ago not to stop doing what I’m doing simply because I’m a bad self-editor. I’m not perfect, never will be, and one of my biggest faults is the inability to see the tiny details in my–and actually any–writing. My brain is simply not wired that way. I’m more of a big picture idea and visual designer than a fine detail, editor type.

Honestly, I appreciate the people–yourself included–who politely send me a message or leave a comment pointing out a grammatical misstep. I simple edit it right then and shoot them a thank you message. Again, to me it’s not the end of the world. In a way allowing myself to be so raw and unedited has helped me overcome that pesky little perfection bug I talk so much about on Roni’s Weigh. Which, I believe, led to many years of yo-yo dieting and negative self-talk.

Many people will not agree with me and that’s ok. You can’t please everyone. I refuse to stop blogging simply because I make a few mistakes. Maybe one day I’ll be able to find and afford the right editor for me. In the mean time people will just have to deal. I don’t force them to read. There is plenty of other diet/weight loss/food talk out there more polished than mine. (It’s “than” right? not “then”?) ;)

Thanks for the question Carolynne, now I hope I am not the one who has offended you!

-Roni

P.S. The husband wanted me to add my posts would be a LOT worse if I didn’t read them out loud to him first and of course, use the spell checker. That’s how bad I REALLY am.



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Discussion

There are 42 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.

    Karen@WaistingTime

    March 4, 2011

    What happened to taking literary license? I admit that I have googled some things to try to get them correct in my blog. Like… which words to capitalize in the title and when to use lay/lie. But there are some things I just don’t worry about. Like… ending a sentence with a preposition. Or my overuse of hyphens instead of whatever punctuation I should be using.

    Reply

    Dr. Rus Jeffrey

    March 4, 2011

    Hi Roni;

    When your tweet came through my ‘Fav Peeps’ column in Tweetdeck I just had to check out the post. First off, as a writer and one who has taught writing, basic English comp and Journalism in college, you hit the nail on the head with one of my pet peeves. I always tell writers – “Turn off the grammar checker and the spell checker! Word does not know the difference between your and you’re or their, there or they’re”.

    I also tell writers one more piece of information which really tightens up ones writing – “Stop using the word ‘that’. It’s simply extra baggage you very seldom need”. As a test, go back and read your post I’m commenting on here now. Remove every occurrence of the word ‘that’ and you will discover you do not need the word. Once the word is gone, the flow of reading does truly become better.

    Also, and this is simply on a blog look note. The little retweet bar on the left hand side of my screen that you have attached to your blog is very irritating. It’s in the way and distracting because it floats all the way down the page. If I wasn’t truly interested in what you had to say here, I would have jumped off the page immediately because the bar is a pain.

    Just something to think about.

    Keep up the great work!

    Dr. Rus

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    I do use THAT a lot and actually when I do go back an proof I tend to remove about half so I totally understand what you are talking about.

    My little bar has nothing to with my writing but I appreciate the feedback. It’s something I’ve been on the fence about. I tend to think it’s fun and I’ve had other say they like it. Goes to show, again, can’t please everyone. ;)

    Reply

    Julie

    March 4, 2011

    You are a better person than I am, Roni. I felt offended FOR you. I catch other people’s grammatical errors, as well, but I don’t think it is necessary to point them out to people. It is just plain rude. That may be old school thinking, but my Mother raised me better. Just my two cents. Nice response to an otherwise lengthy drone.

    Reply

    Julie

    March 4, 2011

    Oh Good Lord. Do these people have nothing else to do? I appreciate all the advice and help you offer us on your blogs and am not self-centered enough to think I have to point out others mistakes. Thanks, Roni, from the rest of us!

    Reply

    Eileen

    March 4, 2011

    I am sending this to my husband. EVERY time he reads my blog he complains about my lack of self editing skills. I am the first admit that while I can proofread other people’s work pretty well, I have next to do ability to proof my own, and I do read through everything before I publish it, usually more than once.
    That bar is annoying, however I didn’t notice it until someone else pointed it out.

    Reply

    Lauren

    March 4, 2011

    What an interesting post! I have to admit that I’ve been reading your sites for several years, and as a total grammar nerd I can’t help but notice mistakes whenever I see them. HOWEVER, your writing is so authentic, genuine and informative, I would never fixate on the little errors here and there. No one’s writing is perfect. Unless the error is affecting how the reader interprets the sentence, is it really a big deal? Absolutely not. Your message always shines through. I think it’s really brave that even though you’ve admitted you’re not a “natural” writer, you continue to push yourself to improve your writing. Quite simply, you’re just DOING it–and the quality of your writing just keeps getting better and better!

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    Thanks for noticing I’m getting better! :) As they say…. practice makes perfect. ;)

    Reply

    Laura

    March 4, 2011

    I care about grammar but I care more about people. I honor people who reach out to communicate with me and I do not correct them. I have no desire to alienate those who open their hearts to me by criticizing their speech.

    People who believe that everyone in the world should meet a certain standard will find themselves surrounded by people who are guarded. Nothing kills emotional intimacy faster than fear.

    That being said, I believe as a parent I need to correct my children but I need to be sensitive in the way I do so. There are certain conversations that would go from warm and loving to cold and closed if I dared make it about grammar.

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    Laura, funny you should say that as I had a experience with my father that basically turned me off to writing at a young age….. http://ronisweigh.com/2009/08/just-pondering-the-things-people-told-me.html

    Reply

    Yum Yucky

    March 4, 2011

    My (sometimes many) typos make me a self-proclaimed “abstract blogger”. Ya know, I’m all artsy ‘n stuff about it. My typos are clearly mistakes – I fix them if I catch it, but I consider it part of my branding. Uhhh yeah, artsy blogging is what makes me not a journalist and I like it that way. Makes me feel more human, so whatevs.

    Reply

    Donna

    March 4, 2011

    Roni, you’re totally right: professional bloggers are not professional writers, in most cases. They make a lot more money than we do! ;)

    Reply

    Rob

    March 4, 2011

    I’m curious why someone would be considered rude simply for pointing out grammatical/spelling errors?

    Yes, it can be done in a rude fashion, but I don’t think the email shared here falls in to that category.

    I think it’s rude when people point out “bad spelling” when it was obviously more of a typo.

    And I think in general, most people are the worst at editing their own writing, myself included. I know what I was trying to say in the first place, so I think my brain easily overlooks typos, spelling mistakes and the like.

    I also don’t think you should discount yourself as being “just a blogger”. Especially when tied to your professional service. In a way, every time you write a blog posting, you are putting up an advertisement for your services, and for better or worse, there are those that will judge your professionalism based on them.

    Reply

    Cindy

    March 4, 2011

    Ok, I totally see the point in writing professionally – however…. Blogging is stylized writing, is it not? And knowing that you are writing the way you speak is what draws most of us to your blogs – I think as long as you can understand what was intended to be written – WHO CARES?

    You are here to bring us a message – whatever message that may be, and as long as I get what the message is, does it really matter how it was spelled, written, or demonstrated?

    Roni, I like you ESPECIALLY for your imperfections, they are what make you who you are.

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    Rob – Never once did I say I’m “just a blogger” I am “a Blogger” and very proud of that fact. My point is that a blogger is completely different than a traditional writer. We give our content away for free. No one is hiring us or paying us (in my case.) We write without the support of an editor or team. We require different skills and have different goals. We don’t write nor need to write with the same professionalism, at least from my perspective and my style of blogging. I’m not a journalist. I’m an online “journaler”. Yes, I just made up my own word, I do that a lot. ;)

    And I agree with you. Most of the time I don’t find the the people who correct me to be rude. Most people are very polite and as I stated in the post I appreciate the editorial help.

    Reply

    Rob

    March 4, 2011

    Roni, that was sort of in response to the various responses as much as to your posting in general.

    But as far as “no one is hiring us or paying us”… I do think that’s the wrong way to look at it. Yes, we put content out there “for free”, and there are many (probably the majority) of those that read it that are simply here to enjoy the content – typos and all.

    But I go back to my view that it’s like putting out an advertisement. I’m sure part of why you do this is to bring attention to the services you provide that you do earn an income on, no?

    And as a blogging consultant, how you personally approach your blogging is going to be a reflection on how a potential client views the level of service you will provide them. I’m not saying you need to change anything, personally I much prefer the more casual approach – but there will be that chance of a potential client scratching you off their list because of it.

    Again, I’m not saying there’s anything being done “wrong” here, just that I think it’s a topic worth more than just a passing glance, which I think you likely do too since you took the time to share this posting in the first place.

    I also think that the lines between “blogging” and “traditional writing” are blurring more and more every day.

    Reply

    Nia

    March 4, 2011

    Hi Roni

    I would rather have to doing what you love to do the “raw” way, then not be able to read you at all!!

    Reply

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    March 4, 2011

    Thank you for this. I have a knack for finding grammar problems in other people’s writing but missing it in my own. If feel weird telling them when I have a typo habit of my own.

    I’m glad to see you appreciate it when said out of love and respect. I appreciate when people do it for me too.

    Even people who are paid for their writing have teams of editor and copy editors and stylists and still have typos. I find them all the time in books. I love how your writing speaks to me as you would (we can tell from your videos) instead of feeling like a text book.

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    I am NOT looking for “traditional writing” jobs which is what I meant but I totally agree with what you are saying and I do get clients my blogs.

    I think a lot of bloggers, pro or not, care and try to put their best forward. I know I do. They just simply don’t have the skill set or resources to prevent some typos and grammatical mistakes at the same standards a professional writer would. That’s where I was going with the “we don’t get paid for this.”

    Think about it this way… we share photos too. They aren’t going to be the same quality as a professional photographer. The skill set is simply not there. That doesn’t mean they (we, I) don’t do out best to take good pictures. For some reason writing is held to a different standard.

    This is definitely a topic worth discussing and as always I don’t think there is a “right way.” Every bloggers has different goals, styles, and a brand they want to get across.

    Reply

    tiger g

    March 4, 2011

    If people can’t get past a misspelled word or the wrong word or tense or verb or noun, I think therein lies the bigger issue. Yeah I noticed it, but I am here for the message. Society needs to get past the idea that if someone can’t spell they’re discounted in some way. I’m a musician so I understand what it’s like to put your work out for the world to judge. Your blogging is the same way. Most people don’t have an audience ready to judge their work, it is a hard thing to get accustomed to but our ability to self-express makes up for it. I looooove Roni and don’t give a $hit how polished the posts are.

    Reply

    roni

    March 4, 2011

    Thanks Tiger. I appreciate the support and I often think of my blogs an a complete creative expression. It comes from a different place than technical or creative writing and your music metaphor is dead one.

    Blogging is really (not always, but in my case) a completely new medium.

    Reply

    Brittany

    March 4, 2011

    I can totally relate to this post Roni. I find typos and spelling errors in my posts all the time. It bugs me, but having a full time job, a blog and a social life can take a lot of time so once I’m done writing a post I’m beyond ready to hit publish rather than reading over it another time. Although, I probably should. (sigh)

    I’m the same way with writing like I speak so I completely get that. The best part is that I don’t judge other bloggers when there’s a grammatical error or typo because I know I do it too. And, I like when the errors are pointed out by my readers because then I can fix the error!

    Reply

    Que Sarah

    March 4, 2011

    I love you and all your grammatical errors ~ your a rockstar!!! (see what I did there? ;))

    Also as a little funny….

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

    Reply

    Tami@nutmegnotebook

    March 4, 2011

    Oh I can so relate to this Roni! My daughter is a language major in English and Spanish. She let’s me know all of my mistakes and I know I make her cringe sometimes when she reads my blog.

    I am trying to do so many things to get a post published. Try a new recipe, type the recipe, take food photos, post photos, and write a review of it all! I have know formal training in any of this. I am also not that great at using the computer! I do the best I can and as a friend of mine often tells me, people get what they pay for!

    I do it because I enjoy the creative outlet and learning something new. If the readers can’t handle my mistakes they surely don’t have to subject themselves to it!

    Reply

    roni

    March 5, 2011

    Tami – and that’s why I do it too! I’m glad you brought up ALL the other things we must do to “write” a post too. That’s where all those ‘other’ skill sets come in. I take and edit photos, program the sites, design the sites, moderate the comments, come up with the ideas, try them (sometimes) a few times, calculate nutritional info, research ingredients, I mean the list can go on and on. Bloggers do a LOT and we are expected to do it all perfectly? It just doesn’t work that way.

    I do the best I can. It’s all any of us can do. And when you blog out of passion I think it’s all that matters.

    Reply

    Mary Nell

    March 5, 2011

    Roni,
    I’m an English teacher, and I love to read blogs. I don’t write my own primarily because I feel I would want to venture into my daily experiences and it would offend people if they found my identity. With that said, I don’t expect perfection in the writing. I know that in my own writing I sometimes hit send in an e-mail and realize my brain has allowed me to use “it’s” instead of “its” or some other silly error. I do, however, try to catch those mistakes, and I get the feeling that you do as well. It is just that sometimes they still happen. One issue I have with some of the “reply” comments is some seem to have the stance that we don’t need to TRY to catch the mistakes upon a quick self-edit.

    I know that I will never reach perfection; that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to be the best me I can be. I admire you because I think that you no longer beat yourself up about not finding perfection–in fact, you embrace your weaknesses in an utterly charming and humble style. But I also see you not giving up trying to become the best you that you can be on a daily basis.

    Reply

    roni

    March 5, 2011

    Mary – You are exactly right! I do the best I can and there are still errors. I can’t help it at this point. HONESTLY, I read every post a minimum of 3-4 times.. and I read it once out load once I have the draft! My brain simply does not process the misspellings and grammar issues and I got tired of thinking “I’m not good enough to ‘write’ becuase of that.”

    Reply

    Terri

    March 5, 2011

    Roni,

    It is very simple. Those of us who value you for who you are and the raw and real content that you bring do not want you to change. DO NOT change a thing! You are fabulous!

    And that’s my two cents…

    Terri K.

    Reply

    theantijared

    March 5, 2011

    If anyone gives you any issues about grammar, refer them to my blog. I make tons of mistakes on purpose.

    But ones dayz I am gonna writes a books. I know it. Your’e going to believe in mes!

    Reply

    girliefriend

    March 5, 2011

    Roni, I love how ‘real’ you are. If your grammatical or spelling errors prevented readers from understanding what you’re saying, maybe then it would be a problem. As it doesn’t, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

    I totally relate to the ‘perfectionist’ thing. I have often put off writing things in the past because I felt they needed to be perfect. Now, I don’t let it bother me as much.

    None of us are perfect. We all type/move/speak faster than our own editing skills can keep up with at some point. For example, I believe that should be “but I don’t think the email shared here falls [into] that category.”

    I try to look at blog entries like I would a personal letter from a friend or family member. I would never send them a correction. It’s just not that important. I’m simply grateful for the correspondence.

    That said, you have always handled yourself with grace. Keep doing what you’re doing, no judgment.

    As for the sliding bar, it’s your blog. I can ignore it. ;)

    Reply

    LauraWV

    March 7, 2011

    Incidentally, shouldn’t it be: A professional blogger should not be making these KINDS of mistakes?

    Reply

    roni

    March 7, 2011

    It is? Isn’t it? Hmmmm “these” is plural right.

    Thankfully that was a quote. LOL

    Reply

    Reinaldo

    March 7, 2011

    Thiz is were i get all my gramar info http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

    Reply

    Sarah

    March 10, 2011

    Hi Roni! I used to be the editor of a national magazine and of course sub-editing was part of my job. People bought my magazine and in doing so paid for a certain level of professionalism. Blogging is different. I read your blog every day FOR FREE. Since I started, it’s given me hours of entertainment and recipe ideas. I would never dream of criticizing your spelling or grammar. I think it’s funny that anyone would. Well done for taking it on the chin. Proof, that you really are a pro ;)

    Reply

    Tina

    March 16, 2011

    Roni, you rule. That is all.

    See you in May!!! :)

    Reply

    RhodeyGirl

    March 16, 2011

    I love this response.

    I guess the question is.. SHOULD a pro blogger be held to the same standards as a pro writer? I actually think they should. People read blogs the same way they used to read newspapers and the like, so maybe we should all be editing a lot more carefully.

    At the same time, I like when bloggers/writers take literary license and start sentences with And for effect and such.

    Reply

    Susan

    March 16, 2011

    Great post and topic!! I think the main reason why people read blogs is because they’re colloquial by nature. It’s a nice escape from more formal writing, and gives you a chance to have a “conversation” with the real people behind the blogs.

    I’m a trained journalist who worked mainly in radio. I learned to write words intended to be spoken out loud in a natural manner. That means sometimes my sentences aren’t “correct” in the classical sense. But blogging is an informal medium, even if it is your job. I think making the words flow easily is more important than maintaining a rigid structure that puts people to sleep.

    With that said, I have to agree I cringe a little when I see bloggers write things like “your” instead of “you’re.” I’m totally the nitpicky editor type!

    Reply

    Caitlin

    March 16, 2011

    HERE HERE.

    Reply

    Caitlin

    March 16, 2011

    Hear Hear?

    Reply

    Kelly

    March 16, 2011

    Like you I read my posts 3 or 4 times before I press publsih. The problem is that my brain simply does not see some of the mistakes. My brain automatically corrects the mispelled word or horrible grammar because I know what I am trying to say. I love this post. Blogging (even professional blogging) is not about being perfect. It’s about being a real and relatable person.

    Reply

    Becca

    March 16, 2011

    Found this through Twitter. :)

    I’m such a grammar geek. I notice errors in *everything* I read, but I don’t typically point it out unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary (like the marinade vs. marinate thing–that type of thing might bother me enough to bring it up). I cringe, resist the urge to comment on it, and move on.
    But what’s funny is that even though I’m such a perfectionist in my writing, I’m still finding grammatical or spelling errors in the things I wrote in high school. I make mistakes on my blog, too–I don’t always go back and correct them, because they’re those mistakes that are pretty easy to fix, like I missed a letter or something. Sometimes I’m just in such a rush to publish (or turn in) a post (or a paper) that I don’t take enough time to correct my mistakes.
    Happens to everybody. Some people care more about it than others. Like I said, I’m one of those people who is obsessive above spelling and grammar, but sometimes I choose not to correct people because I might come off as rude or something.

    Would you believe I do this in real life, too? No joke, if I hear someone use a double negative (“I didn’t do nothin’!” = did something. I’ve known this since we learned double negatives in 5th grade.) or make some sort of pronounciation mistake, I cringe and want so badly to correct them. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. It all depends on the person, the situation, and the mistake made.
    I get so ticked off at professional chefs who mispronounce French terms… You’re the one who went through all the freaking schooling; you should know how to pronounce it!! I will literally grumble at my TV, even though the person can’t hear me. That’s how obsessive I am. =

    Reply

    Jendi

    March 28, 2011

    I fight the perfection bug. When I started blogging I had to work up the courage to publish – because “what if somebody finds a mistake?!” I love your attitude, and honestly, I’ve not had many people send corrections. I’m looking forward to hearing how you talk during FitBloggin.

    Reply