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Honing in on my weakest areas in writing a must

March 27, 2012

One thing learned in this profession was how to take rejection and criticism. For me, two pieces were rejected because of poor quality or lack of basic proofreading mistakes. If a better job was on the horizon, mastering the basics was key to that better job.

Most of this was my fault for two reasons: 1) The Examiner.com told all its writers they used AP Style. They also had a checklist that all writers were encouraged to check their articles against before pressing the publication button to avoid the piece being declined. 2) The quality rating was there to help writers improve their craft no hurt them. In my case, most of the problem they encountered was my lack of proofreading my pieces and media to enhance the story. While a warning was issued for both of the articles published during Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, they declined my weekend events article this past weekend for the exact same thing, lack of proofreading.

With Yahoovoices.com, the situation was different. In my rush to finish the assignment on time, the directions weren’t followed on the Easter assignment submitted. First, the editors didn’t like the title and asked me to rewrite it. Then the article format was wrong. The article should have been written in complete sentences not lists, like the ones for the weekly or weekend events above. The last time they rejected this article was because of poor quality, asking me to remove it. Yesterday, they told me the piece submitted for flash fiction was too long and had too many distracting links. By the time the editing was finished, only two links remained in the story.

One thing was noticed though. Both KAUZ-TV 6 and KFDX-TV 3 didn’t use any kind of style when placing their events on the community calendars. It didn’t appear they had anyone on staff to catch those common grammatical mistakes either. Both the city calendar and the Midwestern State University event calendar, while wordy, were somewhat error proof. That didn’t give me the right to copy those events with mistakes and putting them before the people of The Examiner knowing there were mistakes.

For me, going through my article on weekly events with a fine-toothed comb this past Friday night and Saturday morning got me a rating of 8.0 out of 8 and a ‘Keep up the good work’. Since there wasn’t an AP Style Book in the house, my research on the web into abbreviations and time were my main focus. Most of the event calendars had a.m. and p.m. in capital letters with two zeros and a colon, or written like this (06:00 pm) on the MSU calendar. According to AP Style, this was incorrect.

For Yahoo Voices, it was going to take time and a lot of reading up on how to write articles. This was never one of my strongest fortes in high school or college unless the topic was well known. For now, it was better for me to stick to science fiction or flash fiction. If getting hired as an online media article writer were in my future, study needed to be done t obtain improvement. It was better for me to focus on my weakest areas in writing. There wouldn’t have been any criticism or rejection if everything were letter perfect.

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2 Comments
  1. Proofreading is so much less fun than writing. Although it is a necessary evil. Good luck with both.

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