Between the Lines: Blogging over 50

2e97e070-b9cd-4ba3-a7fe-42cf38d647fa

A few months ago, I responded to a request from Katherine at KatherinesCorner.com,  as she was looking for women bloggers over 50 to share their experiences, such as what inspired them to start a blog, what keeps them motivated and so forth. With her expertise and hard work, she is giving more than 80 bloggers the opportunity to expand their horizons and reach more people.

So, I threw my hat in the ring, was accepted to be part of this series, and now you will hear a little more about me. My blogging journey started out as an outlet during my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and then took a more “random” turn after he passed away.  A few years before he died, the newspaper industry was slowly beginning to fade. As a displaced writer, I was learning to wade into the digital world from the print media realm. One of my favorite writing gigs was a weekly column in our local paper. As I became more comfortable with blogging, my blog began to develop into its own character, and began to look similar to my old columns: a bit of family fodder, some opinion, an occasional recipe and my favorite – conversations with my readers. When I started writing sponsored posts and product/book reviews, I became more interested in the “how-tos” and migrated my work over to a self-hosted blog. I learned a lot and trust me, there is more to learn – like the value in posting on a regular basis, which is something I really need to do!

One of the most rewarding benefits to midlife blogging is meeting wonderful “Boomer Bloggers.” A few I have met, and there are many more I look forward to meeting “IRL.” What impresses me with the north of 50 crowd is the willingness to share our collective knowledge and expertise among each other and the new bloggers arriving into cyberspace.

Some professionals in the blogging world suggest carving a niche, and being an expert in a field. I agree, but I still defer back to my old columnist days and prefer to write about whatever topic moves me. So if you are hopping through my posts, you are going to see a little bit of everything that interests me. It may not be what I should be doing, but it is what I like to do, so maybe my little niche is, “Midlife Lifestyle Blogger.” Because I am an almost empty-nester, my husband and I have been able to travel a bit more, so you’ll read about our trips. We’re attempting to be healthier and greener, so you’ll find recipes from homemade bread to toothpaste. Plus, I have been dabbling in some humor writing to balance some of the more serious opinions and life-changes of moving forward after raising four little ones. One of my menopause posts was chosen to be part of the anthology, Feisty after 45 – The Best Blogs from Midlife Women.

In addition to cruising through my site, I do hope you click on the link below and check out some of the other writers and their work. And if you have ever wanted to give blogging a try, I encourage you to do so! It is a great way to record family history, share opinions or hobbies and meet others.

If you have any questions, there is a “North of 50 Blogger” right here (me!) who is happy to help! A list of how to contact me is on my “Contact” page.

Happy reading – and, hopefully, writing!

Reflections from three years of blogging

Flower arrangement

“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” – Michael Arrington

It is hard to believe, but I am celebrating my third year of blogging. On April 22, 2011, I hit “publish” for the first time, not knowing where on earth this blog would go.

My initial thoughts in creating a blog were to chronicle my dad’s Alzheimer’s disease, and seek as well as offer support to others dealing with this dreadful disease. But his illness progressed much too quickly, and I shelved the blog for a while, as we dealt with doctor appointments, emergency room trips, hospitalizations, nursing home care, ICU, hospice, arranging a funeral and ultimately saying our farewells in July of 2011.

I was so busy and stunned from my dad’s death that when I did return to the blogging world, I used my blog primarily as therapy to deal with my profound loss.

In three short years, we have learned to move forward without Dad, which hasn’t been too easy. Every holiday and family event still feels empty to me. But we always toast Dad and know that he is in attendance, just in a different form. I still see him in dreams, and he has a way to send me a message from heaven every now and then.

Once I returned to writing on a more regular basis, I developed a blog following, which is very humbling to me. I truly appreciate all those who read my essays and posts, and I have been able to branch out and get a few sponsored posts and product reviews. It is always fun to test things out and share my findings with my audience. Some of my product review highlights include my time spent as a Verizon Brand Ambassador, and also tasting foods and addressing issues in order to help others along.

I have had the opportunity to share my faith and opinions, lots of opinions, and even share some of my crazy science experiments.

I also dabbled in a little travel, and would love to dabble a bit more! Part of my blogging life has included my military spouse trials. During part of this three-year blog journey, my Army reservist husband was stationed overseas on an unaccompanied tour, and I had the opportunity to travel to London to see him. Then he, along with our oldest son, deployed at the same time. I thought I would lose my mind, but I was able to write and had a good core of family and friends who kept me going strong until they both returned home, safe and sound.

Some days it just doesn’t seem possible that time could fly by so quickly. Since I started my blog, our youngest son has graduated, and our youngest daughter is finishing her junior year of high school. Our oldest daughter is now in our shoes, seeing how quickly time flies as her little ones grow by the minute. We survived severe summer storms and winter’s Polar Vortex – among other things.

Reflecting over the past three years I realize how immensely blessed I am. In addition to a wonderful family and great friends, I have a great support in the writing and blogging communities. I have taken a few refresher courses in writing and blogging; had blog posts featured on Midlife Boulevard, BlogHer and Vibrant Nation; I picked up part-time writing jobs and found friendships with fellow bloggers and local writers. So many positive things have happened just because I have put myself out in the blogging world.

I have read, and been advised by blogging experts that I should focus my blog and position myself as an “expert in the field,” which is kind of difficult as a “Random Rambler.” My interests are all over the map. I like the freedom that rambling gives me – to choose any topic and go with it! But as I contemplate their sound advice, I think I will eventually have to settle with a theme; maybe “Wise Random Ramblings,” incorporating all my sound advice from a half-a-century of life? 🙂

And, from the bottom of my heart – thank you so much for reading and following my blog. When you read, comment and share my post with your friends and family, it means the world to me, and motivates me to keep on writing. It feels more like conversing with friends, and I just love that.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

 

.

 

True Confessions of a Not-So-Famous-Blogger

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-02-12-16.13.29.jpg.jpgIn the very wee hours of the morning, as I was mulling over (and over) a few blog post ideas that were swirling around inside my head, the proverbial light bulb clicked on and I was faced with the realization that I am not your average blogger.

This all began at 5:21 a.m. this morning, when I woke up to write the words to a poem I have been working on all week. I have never gotten out of bed to write something down – ever – but I will do so from now on.

Anyhow, as I tried to fall back to sleep, writing thoughts kept popping in my head. Then my creative thoughts turned to a self-assessment of why it takes me forever to write a blog post. A lot of ideas come to me at inopportune moments – like while in the shower (soap crayons for notes?) or while I am trying to sleep. So it doesn’t help that I can’t remember the complete book I have written while shampooing my hair. But I digress.

But it has been bothering me that I can’t stop what I am doing, fire off a quick post, share it for the world to see and dive back in to life. I see bloggers churn out post after post and my feelings of inadequacy take over in my head, like a mushroom cloud that forms when the dust rises after a bomb detonates. How do they do what I can’t seem to do? 

Apparently, I am just not wired that way. I need a long, well-thought process, inspiration, and more thinking.

Maybe I put too much thought into my writing. Maybe it is more of an artistic, therapeutic, method of madness than anything else. Most bloggers have a theme – fashion, finance, parenting, grand-parenting, food, diseases, going-green. Not me – my ramblings cover it ALL! Why make it easier on myself, and just go with one idea?! Why can’t I just write, post and publish? No, I have to develop an outline, then write a  first-draft, a second draft, let it “simmer,” re-read, and scrap it all and start over again, then have my husband and daughters read for content (then for check errors if I decide to publish). Except for today. Oh, and then I have to take the perfect picture to accompany the text…

That’s why (a good excuse, anyway) I don’t have a blog post up on a regular basis. And so that is why SEOs and Google searches and others haven’t found me yet. I am at the mercy of my artistic self that is bucking the algorithms of digital success.

As I tried to go back to sleep, by now it is 5:55 a.m., I became more comfortable in the realization that I am a not-so-typical blogger. And, if there are other bloggers that go through this insane process, then maybe, just maybe, they will appreciate my new-found descriptive category:  “The Starving Artist Blogger.”

Not that I write about fine art – yet (just give me time…why not add another category!) – but each post that I write has to be inspired. It may be about parenting, or it may be about knitting or faith or grief or a recipe or a news event or what ever speaks to my heart. Like painters who see something that speaks to them, and then express their feelings onto canvas, I see or hear something that speaks to me, and have to write about it. Eventually.

An artist takes their time to get everything just right – the colors, the textures, the mood, the lighting. One can’t just create without a thought process. Hours are spent visualizing and thinking and sketching.

And I do the same thing. But with words. I am sure people think I am aloof, but there are times that I am writing in my head as I stand in line at the grocery store. Maybe I sound like an airhead when I mix up the words that I am trying to speak, but it’s only because on the other side of my brain, I am trying to keep the words for my essay alive in my head until I can grab a pad of paper and a pen and jot it all down.

Currently, my “art”studio is my laptop in the corner of our home office, with a stash of yarn peeking out from behind a filing cabinet. It isn’t real inspiring, at the moment, which is why I haven’t painted the next Mona Lisa or developed a great knitting pattern – yet. However, in my artist brain, I will one day have the perfect studio cottage, where it is summer year-round, filled with books and paints and pencils and fabric and a little kitchenette stocked with essentials like coffee, tea, chocolate and wine. The summer breezes will gently dance with the gauzy draperies covering the big picture window that offers a view of a lake. My herb garden will be in full bloom, and I will be writing my novel as my painting dries on a vintage art stand in the corner.

If someone could look at my blog dashboard, they’d see several blog posts sitting in the draft mode, waiting for some TLC before I hit publish. (Oh, disclaimer – my closet is filled with unfinished knitting projects, and a few book outlines are stored in there, too, somewhere…) It’s not that these works won’t ever get finished, it is that they aren’t quite ready to be revealed to the world.

Oh sure, some day I hope that one of my blog posts goes viral. Is my wish any different from an artist hoping for a large crowd at a gallery opening, the place filled with smiles and laughter while photographers run around to capture the moment with the dazzling guests, each raising a cocktail in a toast to the host?

Well, my soul-searching ended with the alarm clock ringing at 6:30 a.m. this morning. I got up, had my coffee and digested the fact that I am just an average blogger. I am not massively successful with thousands of readers re-posting every profound word that I write. I can embrace and accept my “Starving Artist Blogger” status. After all, it’s only my creative genius that’s getting in the way of my virtual success. 🙂

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Are you a “Starving Artist Blogger?” Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for the opportunity!

686

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.       #VZWVoices #Boomer

It is so very hard to believe, here at the end of December, that on a hot, summer day six months ago, I boarded a train and left for Chicago. It was there that I met and trained with a dozen or so “Boomer Bloggers.” What a great experience, meeting some of the Midwest’s most influential women on the Web! I felt a bit out of my league, as I am a relatively new blogger, however, these women were more than helpful throughout the entire program. It is great that technology and social media will continue to keep us in contact with one another.

phones

958

I have to admit, that playing with the phones and FitBit was a blast. The cameras on both phones are fantastic! And the technology and apps I downloaded made both phones even more valuable in my very busy life! The FitBit certainly motivated me to get moving, as I saw first-hand how little I moved. Now the device is attached to my hip – literally!

The self-facing cameras on both phones were not used for selfies, (okay, maybe once or twice with my daughter!) but to video chat with my husband and son who were stationed in various countries throughout the past year. And my world clock app was a tremendous help, letting me know what time it was for my loved ones where ever in the world they were. Countdown calendars helped the days pass until my spouse got home. Yes, the technology alone made my life as a military spouse much easier.

tree down riser post

broken riser

 

 

 

 

I loaded so many apps on my phone – such as for our insurance company, which made filing a claim due to a severe summer storm much easier. The long battery life was a huge help in staying in contact with the electric company, insurance company and family members, as we were without power for over 70 hours. I became addicted to downloading books onto my Kindle app – and now using the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, reading the ebooks is much easier.

Though the technology and trip were fabulous, I think the best part of being a Verizon Ambassador was meeting so many wonderful people: the tech trainers, the staff at ComBlu, the bloggers and the folks I met via my blog and through other social media outlets. By being a Boomer Ambassador, other writing opportunities came to my inbox! The experience has truly been a blessing.

VerizonBoomerVoices

Oh, how I wish the Verizon Boomer Ambassador program wasn’t drawing to a close! And I know my Boomer Blogger Sisters have the same wish! What a wonderful experience, to share what I have learned with others. I feel that this program gave me the nudge I needed to get out of my comfort zone and learn even more! From making the switch to self-hosting my blog, to hosting both a digital and a blog party, to learning all kinds of techy terms and skills, I know I have grown both personally and professionally.

Yes, we have come a long way from the gigantic bag phones that we plugged into car lighter outlets a few decades ago. And some days the technology seems to be overwhelming and maybe even be a drawback to in-person social skills. However, as a Boomer, a military spouse, a mom, a writer and a blogger, I do believe that used properly, the technology we are blessed with today can be just that – a blessing and a way to be in touch with those we hold dear.

Thank you, ComBlu and Verizon. I am humbled that you chose my blog to be a participant in this program. Thank you for making communications easier and making the world a little smaller. Thank you to my Boomer Blogger Sisters, for all that you did to help this newbie.

Thank you to my readers. May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

 

 

Yes, we hosted a digital party for Verizon!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Well, we did it! The Chief Blonde from Still Blonde After all These Years and I pulled off our first digital party! It was the first time either of us ventured into a digital party, and we certainly learned a lot – especially me.

As part of the Verizon Boomer Voices program, we were given devices and products to test, review and blog about. We also share new Verizon programs through social media. Additionally, we were asked to host a party to share what we have learned with our colleagues and friends. Since we are writing about technology and how it can make life a bit easier, the Chief Blonde and I thought, “Why not try to have a digital party?” And that is what we did!

What We Did To Prepare:

The Chief Blonde is more social media savvy than I, so she gave me a crash course in RaffleCopter (which we used for the giveaways) and how manage several open Twitter screens at the same time. We were both familiar in using online meeting rooms, so there wasn’t a huge learning curve there.

After inviting Michigan bloggers to the party – via Facebook – we sent out a PowerPoint presentation,  which was used as a teaser, to gauge what products our guests were interested in, and to get the party RSVPs. Additionally, we took photos and downloaded images to use throughout the party. Using RaffleCopter, we were able to draw the prizes for the guests, plus we fielded some questions about the products before the party began, which was a huge help in explaining each device. We had notes on the three devices each of us presented, and opening/closing words. We created Tweet templates ahead of time, and edited them with the names of the prize winners as the party progressed, so we could posts Tweets while the party was in session.

The Party

I admit, I wasn’t nervous until the party began! As soon as guests began to electronically arrive, the butterflies began to take flight in my stomach. Then, I felt like I was on stage and would “mess up my lines!” All in attendance could see us through a webcam! But once I relaxed in front of the camera, I enjoyed chatting with the group. The Chief Blonde and I took turns presenting the devices, and whoever was not in front of the camera monitored the “chat” for questions and comments. The guests were so gracious and added so much to our experience. Everyone who attended received a nice goody bag filled with fun items from Verizon. And there were several winners of some great products, like the FitBit One, FitBit Flex, Tagg Pet Tracker, Sure Response, Belkin Digital WebCam and more.

swag1  prize collage

A whole lot of work went into this digital party, probably as much as with a traditional party – but we didn’t have to clean the bathrooms before the guests arrived! It took many hours to tweak and practice to make sure we had no technical issues, but the pay off was big! We both learned so much, and believe our guests did as well. It was wonderful to connect with so many talented bloggers.

After the Party:

packing day

My dining room table mirrored a warehouse as I was busy packing up the goody bags and prizes for our guests. After shipping all the boxes and reviewing the entire process, I have to say that the Chief Blonde and I had a wonderful time learning together. We made a great team, and had we not been invited to be part of the Verizon Boomer Voices program, we would not have had the opportunity to work together – and become friends in the process.

Have you taken a leap and ventured into unchartered technological waters? How was your experience? Feel free to share in the comments below.

 

The day I lost my #FitBit

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

It is no secret…I am not a big fan of exercise. In fact, I have injured myself more than once trying to stay fit! However, I know that staying active – when I don’t hurt myself – is really necessary to good health, both physically and mentally. Especially as a boomer.

965

While in Chicago for our Verizon training and kick-off, we #Boomers were given a FitBit One wireless activity and sleep tracker. Jokingly, I called it my fitness stalker, because it records every step you take, every move you make…

Anyhow, I took me a while to muster up the courage to activate this very small, high-speed device, because – well – I was afraid it would show me just how inactive I can be. As I writer, I am on my rump a good portion of the day. So, sometime during mid-August, after the crazy summer started to settle down (storms, power outages, daughter being very ill, etc.), it was time to get into gear and see how much I moved – or didn’t move – in a day.

Seriously, if it took ten minutes to sync the little tracker to the laptop, create an account and download the mobile app to the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD I am also reviewing, then I would be surprised. I clipped the tracker on, and away I went.

967

Always wanting to know how close the grocery store is to my home, off I walked to grab a few groceries. Then, a little yard work, up and down the steps to do laundry and a short bike ride with my granddaughters. Quickly it was revealed to me that I didn’t move as much as I thought. I synced the tracker to see my stats throughout the day, and realized I needed to move a bit more.

As I am really competitive with myself, my goal was to break the previous day’s step record. That would’ve been ideal had I clipped it on before I walked out the door! Ugh! You can bet that the next morning, I didn’t forget!

And then, I was hooked.

I received a badge for over 5,000 steps. The next day, I walked over 6,000 steps. The day after that, I was trying get to over 8,000 steps. The tracker really did motivate me, and I walked the entire floor of two super-sized stores, ran many errands, did laundry, walked to the grocery store and then walked to my neighbor’s for a knitting group. Secretly, I wondered if my stitching would record on the FitBit.

The world will never know.

At 10:45 p.m., exhausted yet exhilarated, I grabbed my FitBit to sync up and view my amazing, awesome, physically active day.

It was gone.

Gone! I searched high and low until midnight, digging through the laundry, crawling around the yard with my awesome flashlight app. I contacted my neighbor, who didn’t see the tracker. I texted texts, posted posts and tweeted tweets.

Gone. I am still stunned, because the clip was extremely strong. A little bump wasn’t going to budge or nudge it off my pocket. I am thinking I was pick-pocketed!

Feeling deflated, I crawled into bed. I couldn’t even track my sleepless night with the FitBit because, dang it, I had lost it!

The next morning, I was again walking through the yard, down the street, up and down the steps, digging through my knitting bag, climbing under the car, moving furniture, checking dog crates, warning my son to look for it while he cut the grass. I probably tripled my activity as I re-traced my steps, trying to find my FitBit. I bet I had a better workout just trying to find the tracker than if I had been wearing it!

It took a few days to resign myself to the fact my FitBit was gone. Oh, and to add insult to injury, my FitBit stat report arrived via email, showing all the progress I had made, up until my “inactive” period. I wanted to cry! I could have had some really great numbers to post, if I hadn’t lost my tracker.

fitbit

So yes, the FitBit works. That device will motivate you to move, whether it is attached to you or laying in a parking lot somewhere, waiting to be found.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Do you use a fitness tracker? If so, which one? Has it motivated you to move? Share in the comments section!

Woo whoo! The folks at Verizon/ComBlu took mercy upon me and sent another FitBit One! Look what arrived today! Thank you!!!! 🙂

new fitbit

This #Boomer is having too much fun

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program, and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

wpid-IMG_20130711_132023_784.jpg

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog letting the world know that I was chosen to be part of a group of #Boomer bloggers. It was wonderful to meet so many talented, articulate women, whose blogs are great! (Note: I will get to adding them to my BlogRoll – soon.)

As members of the #VZWVoices, we were traveled to Chicago, put up at the Allerton Hotel, and attended classes where we learned about the device that would become an integral part of our lives: the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD. To get us to really use this device, we have been given unlimited data – and anyone who has data constraints knows that is an addicting feature.

So, the requirements we have for sharing our experiences with our phone is to be completely honest. And honestly, I am in love with the camera. 

Leaving the conference, my head was swimming with facts and features and I couldn’t wait to get home and play with my new tech toy. But I admit, I haven’t tried even a smidgen of the features, because I keep playing with the camera! It takes great pictures. And since I am not a professional photographer, and haven’t ever owned a “really good” camera, I am spending way too much time taking pictures and playing with the photo editor. And, for those who know me too well, I freely admit I don’t have a lot of patience. So, for me to take a picture, edit and play and tweak the features in an instant – well, yes, I am hooked.

Above is a very simple shot I took of some sunflowers I bought yesterday. Below, I have posted the images as I tweaked them:

Black and white:

wpid-IMG_20130711_132239.jpg

Documentary:

wpid-IMG_20130711_132131.jpg

Posterized:

wpid-IMG_20130711_132214.jpg

Auto Fix:

wpid-IMG_20130711_132059.jpg

Again, all done in seconds! Just remember to “save” any changes you want to keep (yep – learned that the hard way!).

Stay tuned for more updates, and photos!

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb

A brand new opportunity!

“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program, and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

VerizonBoomerVoices

Yep! It is true! I have been approached and asked for my opinion! So, you will see this disclaimer on my blog when I write about my adventures with the new device.

How cool it that?

I am really excited on so many levels. One, a new tech toy to play with! Two, my opinion will matter to someone other than me! Three, I will get to meet some other “Boomer” bloggers, which is really going to be great. The chance to meet new friends – fellow writers – and network and pick their brains about the blogging world is just wonderful.

It has been a crazy few years. In fact, I started this blog to help journal my feelings with my dad’s Alzheimer’s. Then, he got so sick that I didn’t have the heart – or the time – to write. After my dad died, my blog kind of morphed into my own little “column” of random ramblings, grief therapy and observations.  I have shared some ups and downs, and I am happy to say that, yes, sometimes, out of the blue, an opportunity lands in your lap.

So, stay tuned. I plan on capturing the moments and sharing them with you. The journalist in me can’t wait to investigate this product! The writer is dying to know if I can blog from it! The traveler in me can’t wait to get to my destination and meet everyone!

And the blogger in me can’t wait to share all of this with you soon, soon, soon!

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

.

Guess what? Spelling matters!

wpid-2013-01-28-12.36.25.jpg

In high school I tried out for the spelling team, but only because I really wanted a letter jacket.”
― Jarod Kintz

English:
ten·ter
/ˈtentər/Noun
Definition: A framework on which fabric can be held taut for drying or other treatment during manufacture.
Synonyms
stretcher

French:
[ta(n) tay]
Definition: to tempt, attempt, try

So…who’s up for some “tenter” flat iron steak?

Wow. I have seen some whoppers in my day, but that one (see my photo above) was a big error. And if you look close, you will see another glaring mistake.

Words spelled incorrectly, phrases used in the wrong context – one can see these in newspapers, magazines, ads and so forth. They are nothing new. In fact, Jay Leno made a name for himself by airing some of these awful mistakes during his “Headlines” segment.

In an editing class I took about 10 years ago, our professor would give us extra credit for errors found on the front page of the paper where he was employed. Suffice to say, I received extra credit every week.

And that was a decade ago. Since that time, the errors seem to be getting worse.

Trust me, I will admit that I bend almost every grammatical rule in the English language. Yes, I end sentences with prepositions – I even start sentences that way! I make errors, letting my participles dangle for all to see. But no matter what I am working on, I always have someone read my work before I submit it. From newsletters to articles, they will be looked at before I send them off to an editor. Bless his heart, no matter where my husband is in the world, I send him my work and ask him to proofread. After he looks it over with fresh eyes, I am confident enough to send my work to an editor, and let a professional polish my words, making them presentable in print.

Errors will happen, but I think the reason they are so prevalent these days is that we are taking humans out of the equation. Print publishing has taken a huge smack in the finance department. Professional writers, like me, have seen pink slips and pay cuts. Many have changed careers, so the field of qualified proofreaders is shrinking. In the meantime, editors have become over-worked and underpaid. Therefore, mistakes are made.

My assumption is that corporations seeking to save a dollar have found it cheaper to use spelling and grammar software than to pay a professional who has a firm grasp of the English language. The cheaper-than-an-editor forms of copy editing and proofing ensure that the errors, which used to happen on occasion, now happen on a regular basis.

In my humble opinion, I find that this is a huge mistake.

Standards for our language have been edged out by electronic communications. Shortened words and phrases due to texts and Tweets make for an abbreviated form of the written language. And, may I add, this is spilling over into our verbal communication skills as well. But I digress.

So, excuse me while I jump up high here on my soapbox, as I want to share a few pointers with those who feel writers and editors are expendable:

– Spelling skills matter.
– Good writing is an art.
– Fact check before printing. One “Googled” source doesn’t count.
– Let a human proofread.
– Using slang? Don’t rely on reality television. Double check the term with Urban Dictionary for context.
– Using foreign terms? Look up spelling for those words and phrases, too.

If you are a business owner, pay for a professional writer to either write or proofread your company’s communications, to include email blasts, newsletters, Web content, Tweets and blogs.

Never underestimate the power of an English major. For, at the end of the day, we have a tenter tender heart for those who appreciate us.

Do spelling errors drive you crazy? Share in the comments section.
© Lynne Cobb -2013