First, the rant: Not to pressure you, but I'm getting a little sick of shoddy, lazy workmanship. I can't be the only one. Let's rise up together against piss-poor quality and badly executed projects!
To the world at large, I offer the following suggestion: If you can't muster enough enthusiasm to proofread, maybe you shouldn't be involved with the task at all. This includes lettering on signs of all sorts. People of the world, for the love of god, stop misspelling things on humongous signs. You're making the rest of the world just a little bit stupider. Do you really want that on your conscience?
An example, you ask? There is a blog that I've contributed to more than once. The posts are moderated by the editor, and without fail, my words are 'edited' to the point that they either don't convey the intended message or they now include typos or disjointed/missing words. Then he hits the submit button. This offends me. It's not the editing that bothers me. I've learned enough about writing to know that a little good editing never hurt anyone. The problem is that once the post is online for the whole world to see, I don't even want to claim it. I resent the time I spent on it. I am loathe to share it on my FB page or other social media sites. It's embarrassing. Please, let's try and get it right, people. Rather than let this burn a hole deep down into my soul, I've decided to write the editor and explain the situation. If I don't get a response that I'm happy with (which would go something like this: Um, sorry! Won't happen again!), I'll stop contributing, which would be a shame because I really believe in the concepts and ideas behind this particular company and would like to be involved.
I've had similar experiences professionally, which I won't go into here, except to say that the next time someone changes my carefully written work into something which is incorrect, poorly punctuated, or misspelled, imma go all ghetto on their ass. Enough said.
By the way, I do understand how the occasional typo can creep into a person's work. Happens to me all the time, and a certain amount is allowed depending on the situation. For example, this blog? Ideally, it should be mistake-free, but sadly that isn't the case. I consider personal blogging a type of informal writing, and as such, the rules can be relaxed from time to time. Plus, this is my writing, so if I am too lazy to properly proof and fix my mistakes, that's okay because I'm just making myself look like a dumb-ass, which is my god-given right as an American.
But public signs? Important documents? I think not. We can and should do better.
Next topic: Copyright as it pertains to online content.
I have been mulling this over for the past week or so, mostly because I ran across this blog post by Roni Loren. She is an author and a blogger who was recently sued (and lost) due to the use of a photograph on her blog. Since reading her post, I've been thinking a lot about copyright and what the laws are pertaining to online content. It's so difficult to interpret and there is so much information out there which is conflicting. My intent is to share the work of others while giving the proper attribution to the original creator. I always link directly to the creator's website. I never, ever try to take the credit for someone else's work. I don't make money off of someone else's work. Apparently, this may not be enough to get me off the hook. The fact is, I see what I do as giving back to the writing and artistic communities because aren't we all looking for a little more exposure? In my mind, it's free marketing and as long as it's properly linked and attributed, I'm all for it!
I've come to the conclusion that even though it seems I'm doing it the right way, it only takes one person to take offense and all of a sudden, I'm in over my head. Not somewhere I'd like to be, I assure you. So, in the coming weeks, I will be formulating a plan to take down all of the art on my various social media sites, contact the owners, obtain their permission to use their work (or not), and then re-post as appropriate. If you think that sounds like a lot of work, then you would be correct. However, I think it's worth it to start over and make sure things are done right. After all, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, if it isn't worth doing the right way, it probably isn't worth doing at all. So, consider this a heads-up - some of my older content may disappear for awhile, but it will be back - promise! Stick with me as I make some changes for the better.
You may know that I just returned today from the Tony Hillerman Conference in Santa Fe. I cannot overstate how useful it was to spend the past three days with writers (published and aspiring) from all over the country. I have learned so many useful things that I can immediately incorporate into my writing. We also had a chance to talk with editors and publishers to hear their take on the industry and learn what they're looking for in a manuscript. I got a real kick out of eating breakfast with a delightful and helpful man who was just brimming over with helpful advice. When I asked if he was a writer, he humbly nodded or something equally as anticlimatic. Later, when he stepped up the podium, I realized he was David Morrell, the author of First Blood, creator of the Rambo character and best-selling author of over 30 more books. Yes, I would say he is definitely a writer!
The entire weekend was like that. Anne Hillerman, Steve Brewer, Bill O'Hanlon, Peter Joseph, Mike Orenduff, Andrew Hunt. Richard Peck - you are all amazing. Just astounding and life-changing. I am a lucky woman.
I'm currently behind on the NaNoWriMo word count, but I'm working feverishly to rectify that.
The art in this post belongs to Jackie Gardiner and yes, I did contact her and she was gracious enough to give her blessing. Click here or on any image to visit her website and check out her many other beautiful works. Likewise with Roni Loren. Go to Roni's website and check out her books. Are they sizzling or what?
Have a delightful week, my friends!