On Being a Bad Writer

For Christmas last year, my kind and considerate daughter-in-law gave me a book about writing, written by a real writer, Anne somebody.  I appreciated the gesture but started to wonder whether my daughter-in-law’s message was, “I’ve read what you write and find it hard to believe you have been getting away with this all these years.”

The thing is, I am a bad writer!  I admit it!  I have a friend who is a good writer but I suck!  One of my worst habits is using too many exclamation points!  But I just can’t stop myself!  Sometimes I use two of them at once!!

No, can’t write.  Sentence structure awful.  And, paragraphs.

Sometimes I start new paragraphs for no good reason.  Other times I will just keep writing the same paragraph with a brand new thought, like all the times I use the same word, such as times, multiple times in the same paragraph.  Any decent writer would spread some of those times around to other paragraphs.  But most times I don’t know better, since I am a bad writer times ten!

So there’s that about paragraphs and how they should be about just one thing, the thing the first sentence is about.  Good writers use vivid metaphors and similes.  I can’t write a metaphor to save my life.  Whenever I try to summon up a metaphor or simile, I just look longingly at the screen like a dumb dog that accidentally drops his treat down a hole and can’t retrieve it — he just stands there barking.  That’s me.  A dog without a metaphor.

I can’t use descriptive language either.  Every time I try to use adverbs, I sound like Yeats (or Keats, whatever his name was, I don’t know any of those poets and I never read their pusillanimous, cat-turd-in-the-lavender-patch elegies anyway) in a dank tavern reciting the most fetid, repellent, putrefactious, smell-o-vision examples of amateur literary spittle one can find outside of Scarsdale, New York.  Because that’s the kind of place Scarsdale is: Adverbs run for City Council in Scarsdale and, amazingly, sometimes win.

Being a bad writer, as you now know having read me up to this point, requires much more (or less) than having limited writing skills.  A crucial part of bad writing is having nothing interesting to say.  Just like at the mall the other day.  There was this guy walking around the mall, dusting benches and things.  I thought he was going to ask me to move, because I was sitting on the wall of some empty kiosk waiting for my spouse to finish her purchase at the Hallmark store.  But the guy just whiffed his duster over the bench next to me and then walked on by.  I didn’t have to move after all, so I just kept waiting.  Eventually my spouse showed up and we left, went home and had lunch.

Bad writing is also full of irrelevant material.  By the way, can you believe that guy in the mall gets a paycheck and he doesn’t have to write anything!  Not a thing!!

Good writers are concise and get to the point, but bad writers such as Yours Truly — and who calls himself that anymore?  Bad writers, that’s who!  Or whom!! — often lapse into run-on sentences, going on and on (and on!!!) about some such banal topic which is only noteworthy because someone noteworthy uttered some utterly forgettable remark about it, the noteworthiness being that the person happened to be an old drinking chum of the late Christopher Hitchens, the erudite, well-befriended and well-saturated author who selected those he fawned over with particular care, treating Salman Rushdie, to cite one example, like Edward Snowden only wished he had been treated, but Snowden had the misfortune to spring his leaks two years after Hitchens died and thus was denied Hitchens’ embrace, assuming that even would have happened or made a difference if it did.  Am I right?

Everyone can tell how much hours good writers spend on there writing, because they’re hardly antsy mistakes in it.  Grammer, spelling, punction, all perfect.  As hard as I try to write without making mistakes, one or two.  Always seem to excape my attention.  I think my main problem is, get a better spell-check software!

They also say that the good writers close with a strong, satisfying ending.

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3 Responses to On Being a Bad Writer

  1. Kevin Miller says:

    A quote from a friend’s play years ago; “I felt like a bad analogy—strained, and unamusing.”

  2. Rick says:

    Funny and clever.

  3. Jo-Ann Cooper says:

    You had me at the second graph.

    Please delete me from your mailing list.

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