In today’s world, it’s all about speed and quantity. Forget quality or patience, those things don’t make money when you’re counting your success by the number of people clicking on your articles.
Never mind that they’re so riddled with spelling and punctuation errors, not to mention horrible phrasing and tired clichés. They’re driving traffic, and that’s what it’s all about!
Does anybody care anymore about the art of it? Does anybody care that there’s a difference between “he had” and “he had had”— an actual difference, small yet important, in the meaning?
If you can’t tell, I’m the guy who cries himself to sleep at night because so few people know how to use hyphens correctly. (Okay, I don’t cry myself to sleep — it just annoys me.)
I’m the guy who starts salivating when I see a piece free of errors, and who can’t help but edit his own work again and again to the point where he can end up writing far more slowly than he’d planned to do.
I’m the nerd who has a hard time enjoying an otherwise great story if the author constantly confuses “your” and “you’re.”
Thankfully, language killers — okay, “language mutilators” is probably more accurate — aren’t everywhere. There are places where patience and a steady pace are valuable, like in great works of fiction.
I recently proofread JD Brewer’s young-adult novel Vagabond, and while I was hired to do it, I found myself falling in love with the story. Certainly there were little errors for me to correct — it was, after all, the reason I was hired — but they were minimal and didn’t detract from the beauty of the language.
And there will always be high school English teachers drilling us on prepositions (thank you, Ms. Harms). Thank God for them.
The thing is, I get paid the same amount for this article whether it takes me five minutes or five hours to write. So it would be in my best interest to write it as quickly as possible, right?
Maybe, if I think from a purely financial standpoint. Pump out as many articles as possible to maximize my paid time, right? I just can’t do that. I can’t sacrifice the art in my work. Sure, I’ll try to stop agonizing over my semicolons, but I’m going to take as long as I need to write this.