Are Blogs Full of Bad Writing? I Sure as Hell Hope Not!

Perusing the internet, I come across an opinion article from the Los Angeles Times that has a title worth reading. Michael Kinsley, the author, titles his article “Are blogs killing good writing?”

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kinsley-column-felix-salmon-20120210,0,1549723.story

Immediately, I became interested in a title like that especially with my new love for blogging and expressing myself in the digital world. I was also offended. Yes, a good writer takes time to create, but I don’t believe everyone (including myself) could be contributing to some of the terrible writing on the internet. I know it’s out there. We see it every day on Facebook and Twitter. The lack of spelling skills and distinction of the correct words in sentences is apparent in a majority of our friends. We thought they were intelligent until we saw what they posted for their status.

However, I tend to give a benefit of the doubt for anyone willing to take the time and dedication to write a blog at least once a day. It takes either a good writer or one who relies on the spell check to consistently put out content. Now, whether the content is good quality or not depends on the education of the blogger. I know that some people think they are entitled to write because they have been moderately educated, but sometimes they still don’t know how to do it. I get that those people contribute to the bad writing on the internet. But it can’t be that many people, right? To Kinsley, it’s too many. He details the opinion of a famous financial blogger about the quality of blogging and online writing. Not only has it degraded in quality, but the amount has increased exponentially.

So, if you increase the product and reduce the quality, what do you get? A million versions of the same crappy product. Do the consumers (online readers) seem to care or notice? Hell, no and we all know why. Because nobody cares about it anymore. No one is willing to take the time or pay someone to take the time and check for grammatical/any other kind of accuracy. I know that I am nowhere near the perfect writer. I’m not even a good one yet. At least, I admit that I have a lot to learn, and that I am willing to take criticism to learn more. The majority of these people pushing out these crappy quality blogs don’t realize they aren’t writing well AND they don’t care to learn to become better writers. Instead, every consumer (reader) settles for this mediocrity because as long as there is stuff on the internet dumb enough for us to understand, we don’t care if it’s right.

By the end of the article, the author describes the reality that all of the qualities of good writing could be overrated. Now, if we are speaking to the new generation and those bad writers on the internet, I agree. To them, it’s overrated because they don’t understand or respect it. Nevertheless, I disagree greatly that the qualities of good writing should just be thrown out because some people think they are exempt from it. Look, these rules of writing were not created to be forgotten just because the medium changes. Instead, the rules should be enforced. Without rules, society has no order. While I believe that some rules can be bent and altered in certain situations, what makes writing good is that people can make a good quality story without cutting corners. It is the people that cut corners that make me sick. The authors that don’t actually follow the rules, but end up selling millions on a book that isn’t very good.

I feel like the quality of online writing is simply the tip of the iceberg. It is not only that some people think they don’t have to write well and will be received by readers. It’s that publishers, writers, and readers will make a book popular not because they value the story for what it is, but for its market value. We use the term “selling out” when a writer gives in the requests of the publisher or popular theme because it will make money. Writers write the story that only they can tell a certain way. Not everyone should write a romance just because it’s popular. If that were the case, they wouldn’t all be good. I wish that people could understand that the books on the best-seller’s list are not all good writing. Just because they make money, doesn’t mean it was actually difficult to write. Now, you would like to think that the writers actually worked to create a good story, but most of them are written to make money. And in this age, you don’t have to be complicated to entertain. The quality is down because it doesn’t take good quality to entertain a reader for a few hours. This is such a sad reality because there are so many underrated writers not on the best-seller’s list or not even published because they won’t “sell out” to the most popular idea. It’s become a staple for people to read a best-seller and assume it is good writing because it’s made money.

For example, Twilight. Regardless of the people who enjoyed the STORY, which was entertaining I will admit. I read the books to entertain myself and they did the job. That’s it, though. They didn’t make me think, care, or even work hard to read the book. And yet it has made millions. It doesn’t have half of the things that make a good quality book. It may have a catchy, entertaining story, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good book. The author knew her audience and gave them an entertaining story that took her the least amount of effort and time to write. I bet she spent more time marketing her book (websites, blog that she was good at) than she did actually writing a good quality book. People loved the book. They ate it up like candy. It didn’t matter how it was written anymore. What mattered was if it entertained people enough to buy the whole series and pass it along to their friends. Is this what writing has come to? Wasting the space on the internet just to get a name rather than a quality product out? Filling up our shelves or best-seller’s list with books that entertain, but don’t change lives.

Now, I know that I may be scrutinized for my previous sentences about Twilight, but it’s true. From those who have spent years reading hundreds of books and learned how to write well, it is difficult to see something mediocre make millions. We watch the quality diminish and we’re supposed to stay silent because people like it? Bull! I’m not going to sit back and wait for the Stephenie Meyer’s and Michael Kinsley’s accept mediocre writing as our future.

I will continue to become a better writer and give a good quality product. No matter how much time I take to write my blog, I know that I’m not diminishing my worth as a writer. I will fight to show people that learning how to write is the most important part of life because it is! Writing, reading, and speaking are the most vital skills we can acquire. They lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. If we allow the quality of these skills to degrade because we’re too lazy to stand up for ourselves, then we deserve to be called bad writers. We can’t just be bystanders as writing is bullied into submission. Stand up and be proud to know how to write!

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6 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

6 responses to “Are Blogs Full of Bad Writing? I Sure as Hell Hope Not!

  1. Too true, I agree with you whole heartedly! I like to think that at the end of the day, the good quality writing is timeless, and will far outlive the rubbish out there. It takes time to see this come to fruition, but there is a long history in literature of this happening, and I think it will keep happening even in the digital age. In the meantime, for me, not only is it my goal to keep improving my own writing, but to inspire many of my students (who are teenagers) to push themselves to improve their own writing too! I don’t think blogs are killing good writing any more than television killed good acting – the quality is still out there, and always will be.

    • Thank goodness you posted first. Because if some Twilight fan would have posted first I would have died. There’s always a fear when mentioning really popular, terrible things that their stupid fans will blow up my blog. But I really hate the complacency of readers to just accept whatever is printed or published online as being good just because it’s in ink or on the screen. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean the person is being completely honest or doing a good job of writing. It’s not fair for those of us who work hard to create a good quality product after years of education. Hopefully the next generation will understand the value of working hard to learn to do things well rather than just settling for average.

      • Hahaha, yeah, but I think even fans of Twilight know it’s bad. My mother loves it, and I always hassle her about it, partially because it’s fun, but also because I know she is so much smarter than those ridiculous books and I really want her to understand why I hassle her about it in the first place. She is not successful due to good writing, or even good storytelling in my opinion (it is so slow and boring, and the characters are dull, empty, lifeless and uninspiring), but only due to a huge amount of luck and an apparent void in the market which she slid into with fortunate timing. But there are so many writers out there with amazing talent who will never achieve that level of success, and I think both readers and writers have to always keep that in mind.
        I’ll be interested to see how the next generation go in this sense. Half the kids I am teaching, it is a struggle just to get them to read at all, sadly. It’s as if they’ll only read if the books are translated into lolspeak :S But then there are many bright young things too. Probably the same as it always has been… Guess we just have to stay positive and keep working hard 🙂

      • I wish t hat I could believe that the fans also realize it’s bad, but I have to disagree. There are people who will vehemently bash people who don’t think Twilight is a great book for many dumb reasons. I get that some people will always defend their favorite book, but the people that defend bad books have no idea the work it takes and what a good book is. Your mother, even if she won’t admit it, knows that the book was made only for entertainment and will admit it in her head. She will deny that it’s that bad because smart readers never like to admit they enjoyed a bad book or that it’s their guilty pleasure. I know I was ashamed to admit I’ve read it, but King once said that you have to read the bad writers to know what to avoid. Then, I became less ashamed because I realized no matter what I read, bad or good, it helps me to be a better writer. However, as a reader, bad books allow your idea of books to lower until you expect books to be easy to read and not as complex. It lowers our expectations for what books should be if we keep accepting bad books as the norm.

  2. We can only hope that good quality writing will be the content that is remembered!

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