Author Topic: The difference between casual and professional writing  (Read 13477 times)

Spell Chick

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The difference between casual and professional writing
« on: January 21, 2018, 12:59:15 PM »
There are successful people out there who use a blog as a platform for spreading whatever message they produce. They enter content and it is gobbled up by an adoring fan base. They have a You Tube channel and create more content in that sphere.

The world is changing from an established funneling of information via a restricted mass media conglomerate, to a Wild West type of free for all.

How to leverage the open market for fame and fortune remains a total mystery to me, but I know it does happen. I follow several different You Tube channels and blogs and some of them are very well done. And eventually they get Patreon subscribers or monetize their content and being to make a living at making content.

So where is the dividing line?

I don't make any You Tube stuff, but I do post to a blog and some people read and like it. I try to maintain a professional attitude when writing, but I know there are mistakes and when pointed out, I correct them. My LBOH was well researched and I hope an entertaining way to learn some of the stories from our collective past. I wrote and edited and reread and corrected and still there would be whoopsies. I corrected them as soon as possible.

Does having a mistake included make it unprofessional? If so, what about if you are providing content for a sanctioned outlet? Where is the line, exactly, between casual and professional writing?
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Jo Bannister

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 02:14:17 PM »
Is it a question of professional v. amateur, or good v. bad?

Professional writers also make mistakes.  Ask any journalist.  You deal with them in a professional way: establish the facts and correct your error in such a way that the people who saw it will also see the correction.

That doesn't alter the fact that writing with errors in it is poor writing.  The more errors, the poorer the writing.  Facts are there to be checked.  Errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling are there to be avoided.  Do your checking first, or you will look amateur even if you're not.

Mark Hoffmann

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2018, 02:40:02 PM »
You may be asking the wrong question. What if the line is based on demographics?
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Heidi52

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2018, 03:03:54 PM »
I'm sorry, I see no difference in who my audience is. Errors are to be avoided. Sure they happen to the best of us, but I'm a stickler for no matter what I write, or to whom, I strive to make it as error free as possible. Good grammar, good punctuation and correct spelling.

Often times on the computer it's easier to see my mistake after I hit send or post or whatever. But when possible, I go back and edit. Especially on here. I'm always surprised that the writing in some casual conversations here and on MWC can get so sloppy. I know it's a minor point in the grand scheme of things but as a writer, on a site for writers, I would be embarrassed if my posts had typos and such.

But that's just me.

Mark Hoffmann

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2018, 03:25:14 PM »
I'm sorry, I see no difference in who my audience is.

Patti asked if having a mistake is unprofessional, my point was that it is the audience who decide. If you are writing a blog that targets the under 25's they will be more tolerant and less judgemental, probably due to exposure to less formal ways of communicating. This may be an anathema to people of our age but the world is the way the world is.  :)
Writing humour is the hardest thing since sliced bread.

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Spell Chick

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2018, 03:32:44 PM »
I do try to make things mistake free. I don't always succeed, but then again, I've paid a hefty fee for a hard-cover book from a reputable publishing house with several mistakes in it. So I know they slip through.

Dord even made it into Webster's dictionary.

Does subject matter have anything to do with professionalism?

Does writing for the National Enquirer make you a professional? Does it matter if the gossip tidbit turns out to be actually true?

Are mainstream media outlets making more mistakes in their rush to print? Does that make them unprofessional? Is Twitter the place to go for up to the minute news?

I think the lines between professional and amateur or casual writing are blurring. But I could just be an old fogey.
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Jo Bannister

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 09:16:17 AM »
I think the lines between professional and amateur or casual writing are blurring. But I could just be an old fogey.

I don't think the lines between professional and amateur writing are blurring or will ever blur.  I think it's immediately apparent, in the first sentence or so, which you're dealing with.

It's not fogeyish to expect certain standards to be maintained. 

Mark Hoffmann

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2018, 09:58:39 AM »
...
It's not fogeyish to expect certain standards to be maintained.

But isn't that exactly what an old fogey would say?   :-*

I'm no youngster (in my fifties) and I'm not keen on what we'd see as lowered standards in various areas. But I accept that change is inevitable and that my way is NOT the way of the younger generation. They (the young) are annoying. But that is just payback for the fact that when we were young the changes we brought about annoyed our elders and betters.

Writing humour is the hardest thing since sliced bread.

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UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B087SLGLSL
US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087ZN6L6V

FB Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/Mark-Hoffmann-Writer-102573844786590

Spell Chick

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2018, 11:57:30 AM »
Am I a professional writer because I have been paid for my writing?

Am I a professional writer because someone else was paid for my writing? (I had my work included in MWC charity anthologies)

Is JK Rowling a professional writer while Tweeting?

Is the hack submitting to The National Enquirer a professional?

Is the publisher of the Stiletto Tales (a story about stripers, honestly written by a participant. Stripers you ask? You know, women who take off their clothes. Stripers.) a professional writer? She paid for a vanity press release of her book.

What about the Lulu people? Even those that sell well. Or those who self publish on Amazon. Are they professional? Does it have to be an established publishing house? Even Stephen King wrote about the difficulties first time authors face with them. Even the good authors.

I believe an entire novel was written on Twitter, 140 characters or less at a time.

I don't know where the brave new world is taking me, but I don't think I'm brave enough to go there.
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Dansinger

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 12:44:34 PM »
Language is a living thing. Unless we're talking about Ancient Latin or Greek, e.g. BUT... even ancient, dead, languages can be brought back to life. Look at Ivrit. It's ancient Hebrew brought back to live, and it's very different now from the Hebrew of the Scriptures.

Look at the English of Chaucer or Shakespeare - and then look at today's English, in all its variations.

I think of this old Dutch sentence, which I first heard when I was a young lad in school. "Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu wat unbidan we nu." At first I couldn't make sense of it at all. Then the teacher started explaining and sure enough, it made sense. I could see how my own language had evolved over the centuries, and it was fascinating.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebban_olla_vogala

What I'm trying to say here is this: What once was correct isn't anymore, and what used to be wrong may over time become correct.

A professional writer will of course write properly, using correct words, spelling and grammar. Unless... oh, there's this area where a professional writer might have good reason to want to influence the way his language is evolving, and he might choose to introduce neologisms.

But I think what sets a professional writer apart most from amateur writers is not the fact that they use their language correctly and get paid for their work. I think it's their attitude that matters most.

I don't consider myself a professional writer, even though my writing is probably good enough. I even think I usually deal with critiques in a professional manner. But I don't want to be a professional because I want to write for me. I don't want others to have a say over what I write or when or how. And I don't want to have to deal with the administrative and monetary parts of it.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 02:02:01 PM by Dansinger »
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hillwalker3000

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2018, 01:51:32 PM »
Sometimes it's simply the difference between taking your writing seriously and taking yourself seriously. The first can only help you improve as a writer - the second will generally hold you back.

H3K

Jo Bannister

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2018, 01:56:11 PM »
That's pretty good, Hilly.  I'm happy to go with that.

Gyppo

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Re: The difference between casual and professional writing
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2018, 03:36:09 PM »
Hilly's hit the nail on the head ;-)

DGSquared

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Deb
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2019, 07:10:32 AM »
I just re-read a post I made in the bar with multiple errors. I was going to let it slide, which I do not normally do, but I've decided to go back and try not to look like the amateur I truly am.   :P

You grownups are sticklers, for good reason.  :-* ;D
I appreciate being kept on my toes.


~Deb
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Blondesplosion! ~Deb

Jo Bannister

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Re: Deb
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2019, 03:40:37 PM »
I just re-read a post I made in the bar with multiple errors. I was going to let it slide, which I do not normally do, but I've decided to go back and try not to look like the amateur I truly am.

And that is what makes you a pro.  Welcome to the world of the grown-up sticklers, Deb.