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My reading list grows exponentially. Everytime I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
-A.J. Jacobs

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Bum

I've been a bit of a Blog Bum. I wish I had an excuse. But I don't.

Last week, I talked to one of the teacher's at K3's school. (K3 just turned 2 for your reference)They told me about how one of her friends in class got in trouble and had to go to time out.

K3 being the motherly figure that she is, walked over to him with her eyebrows furrowed, pointed in his face, and proceeded to say (waggling finger and all),"How sad Mark Jones. How sad, FOR YOU!"

Now, the teachers thought it was quite funny. But I left the daycare wondering why she would say that. I mean, she must have heard it from somewhere. Don't get me wrong. It was hysterical that she was saying such sophisticated things at the age of two, but who did she hear it from?

I told a few of the teachers at work, which they of course laughed as well, and I finished the conversation up with, "But I don't know where she gets that from. I don't say that..."

Famous last words. Over the course of the next three days, either I caught myself or one of my fabulous teacher friends would point out for me that I was saying THOSE. EXACT. SAME. WORDS.

Hmmmm...

Now, I hear myself saying it before it ever leaves my mouth.

Which brings me to my point. Yes. There is a point.

Even after editing my work a trillion times over, my CP's still find overuse of certain words or phrases, using passive voice instead of active, or *GASP* those pesky adverbs. (Does anyone else find those adverbs to be some form of leech? Or like the old witch trying to feed you the poisonous apple? It just happens. I don't know how.)

It's like I'm blind to my own work. I sure am quick, however, to find them in someone else's work. I pull off my writer's vest and underneath is my Superhuman Grammar Woman onsie, complete with spandex and a cape. I don't why know this is so interesting to me. Am I blind when I am being creative, maybe?

Do you guys have the same problem? Are you an open adverb user, or a closet adverb user?? Do your CPs find all of your blantant stupid mistakes that make you want to slam your fist up against your forehead and say, "I really do sort of know what I'm doing. I promise...)

21 brilliant remarks:

Kimberly Franklin said...

LOL! This so happens to me... all the time. And I really do promise I know what I'm doing! Maybe? Okay, sometimes! : D

Christopher said...

I have a problem in that I generally even like my mistakes so I'm hesitant to change them, well some of them. Also, I could never really follow grammar lessons way back when so I'll be honest I don't even really know what exactly an adverb is. Horrible, isn't it? I just try to make things sound right.

Anissa said...

I catch myself probably half the time. Hopefully I find the other half in revisions. We'll see when my CP gets ahold of it. ;)

Julie Dao said...

HAHAHA!!! I would probably have died laughing if I heard a 2-year-old say that :) Priceless! That reminds me of when I was volunteering in the pediatric ward and playing with a 5-year-old girl. There was a kitchen set in the playroom and she was making me breakfast. She looked at me with hands on hips and said: "Lawdy lawdy, girl, what do I have to do to make you eat those vegetables? I tell you time and time again to eat them!" LOLOL

I am definitely a closet adverb user. I tell myself that I don't use that many! But I really do and I can't help it.

Summer said...

I'm a classic over-describer. You know it's bad when your own husband flat-out tells you you describe too much, without even trying to sugar-coat it. :-(

But I likes the pretty pictures!!

chasing empty pavements said...

I love when you talk about your kids, they seem so... cool. And I totally just read about you making the top 1000 for Amazon Breakthrough thing... YAY!!!!!!!! I'm way excited for you!!!!!!

ChristaCarol said...

I think every writer has one (or, *cougmorecough*) "weaknesses" in writing, but with each manuscript, they better fine tune those weaknesses. I used to be horrible with gerund phrases or whatever the heck they're called, and using "as" as a verb instead of making it more active, etc, but the more you're made to look at the mistakes you make, the more (hopefully) you put those warnings in the back of your head so that the next go around, you'll have a habit of blocking those out of your writing. It's true when they say the more you write, the better you get. Book 3 is way better than the first one, and my CP didn't even find those kinds of mistakes when she read it! So there IS hope :)

Elle Strauss said...

Great post! And well illustrated. We all have writerly blind spots.

Livia said...

Microsoft word is great for searching out those pesky words we overuse.

DL Hammons said...

That's one of the main reasons I seek out crtiquers...to point out those pesky buggers I refuse to recognize. And everytime they highlight one and write tsk...tsk...tsk beside it, I shrink to the size of a kumkwat. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my goodness, I make so many mistakes! ut I'm such a perfectionist, that it kills me to pass my work on to my CPs sometimes, knowing they will likely come acros all the mistakes I've missed. But you know, you can't catch it all. That' what your CPs are for, I guess. I think your brain can only focus on so much at once, you know? So, there comes a point where you have to just accept that there will be things you don't see. *sigh

I know...it's hard for me, too.

(But your little K3 is just way too adorable!!)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

It's hard to see the flaws in our own work. That's why they call it "fresh eyes." We're too obsessed to see what's right in front of us because we've been involved in it for so long.
I def battle with the adverb monster. I swear he sneaks in during the middle of the night and sneaks adverbs into my MS.

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Your story made me giggle, having a 2 yr old who says crazy things myself. :) The other day she said, "I'm not terrible, Mommy, I'm just verrrrrrry silly." I KNOW I never called her terrible! Lol...

It's funny that you mention finding our own flaws. I know I have them, but I am currently consciously ignoring them, since I am still relatively early in my first draft. I am trying to just keep moving and not be the perfectionist I usually am about my own writing. Plowing ahead... :) I'm SURE, though, when (if) it gets done someday, I will find many the fine writerly flaws, lol.

Hey... btw... How do you have time to teach and mom and write? I am exhausted. It's going to take me forever to finish this MS!

Diana Paz said...

I CONSTANTLY make mistakes!! CP's help us out, right? Our eyes become blind to those problems, but a good CP will catch them :)

Nicole Ducleroir said...

I absolutely have the same problem seeing little faults in my work! We get too close to our work; we have the whole thing memorized to the point that we aren't reading the words on the screen as much as reciting them. It's always helpful to me to either let a story sit for a couple days and then reread it with fresh eyes, or read it aloud. Reading aloud helps a lot.

Great post! Your daughter sounds too cute!

If you have a moment, visit my blog. I left you a little something today!

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, do I feel this. I do this. All the time. My crit buddies will say "Well, you know your issues with setting? Yeah, you've still got that." And I do know. And I still don't fix it.

I swear I know what I'm doing. Except when I don't. Great post!

Kristen said...

Lol, it's funny what the kiddos pick up. They are little sponges. The toddler has been calling everyone "honey" lately. I turned to my husband and asked him where she got that from.
He raised an eyebrow at me and said, "Um, you say that ALL the time."
My response? "Can it honey, I NEVER use that word."
I think every writer does that to an extent, whether it's adverbs or a catch phrase. When you are creating, you should be letting go and just write what comes to you. That is what Critiques are for.
Pfft, it's not like I REALLY have an EXHORBITANTLY huge problem with overusing adverbs NEEDLESSLY or anything. *rocks on heels while whistling, and waits for Tiffany to throw her laptop at my head*
hee hee hee...

elizabeth mueller said...

Tiffany, you're so cute! I have my writing quirks. I used to be an adverb user. Big time. But I quashed it like I would a huge spider on my arm. I use them sparingly.

I do have my addictive words. But they are native to the one book I am writing. I don't cross them to other books. But those books have their addicting words of their own. LOL...

Thanks for posting this! :)

Crystal Cook said...

This is so great Tiffany! I finally found your blog! I am so lame at computers. I just sent off something to be critiqued and I thought it was pretty good, I mean for me, and it came back and I was smacking myself in the forhead for all of my first draft idiocy. *sigh* I won't even act like I know what I'm doing because I just don't :) Your blog is very pretty by the way!

Jenn Johansson said...

I am a much better editor of other peoples work than I am my own. It's like I'm too close to the story. I think many writers have this same problem.

Melissa said...

Yes! I do this all the time! I'll read over my work and think it's wonderful then get the crit back and feel like an idiot. I'm just lucky my cp's are brilliant and catch all of those mistakes:)