Dear Authors…

I’m probably going to make some enemies over this post – or at the very least, annoy some people – but I guess I don’t care. I’ve done it before, and the odds are better than good that I’ll do it again.

This is addressed to all of the self-appointed grammar Nazis out there, specifically, some of my fellow authors…

cat at computerPhoto credit: Morguefile.com

I’m not sure what you’re thinking when you post insulting comments and memes about the grammar and spelling you see online, but before you do it again, ask yourself a few questions:

Am I perfect?

Do I know all there is to know about everything in the world?

How would I feel if a cyber bully started making fun of me?

That last question is actually the most important of all because it addresses bullying. And yes, when you make fun of people, especially in a public forum, that makes you a bully.

I see authors who will speak out against things like blonde jokes, fat shaming, and a host of other subjects designed to make victims feel bad about themselves. And yet they feel justified in belittling those who don’t spell as well as they do, those who don’t use proper punctuation, or who use the wrong forms of words like their, there, and they’re.

I’ll admit that when someone puts out a meme and they don’t bother checking their spelling, punctuation, and grammar, it kind of annoys me – for a second – but only because most of the people who create them like to come off as professional. It stands to reason then that they should be held to a slightly higher standard.

As far as anything else goes? I speak typo very fluently. In fact, I’ve admitted on more than one occasion that I’m a typo queen who considers spell-check to be my BFF. If someone writes your instead of you’re, I don’t care. I know what they meant to say. Just because they wrote the wrong form of a word doesn’t mean they’re any less intelligent that I am.

There’s a meme that’s been making the rounds this week and it has to do with the word ‘alot.’ Apparently, this drives a fair number of bullies authors nuts. And to those authors, I remind you of the questions above

Seriously, people. We write. In fact, we spend huge chunks of our time creating stories. And because we do, we need to know more about spelling and grammar than the average person. But here’s the thing … just because we do, it doesn’t give us the right to make fun of those who do not.

So next time you feel the need to share insulting memes or posts intended to show your ‘superior intelligence,’ consider the fact that all it does is make you a bully – not a bit different than those who fat shame or make cruel jokes at the expense of others.

The old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” That would apply here. And if that’s not enough to make you think twice, you might want to think about those future fans who might have read your books. You know, those fans who didn’t take kindly to you making them feel stupid and so they chose to read an author who actually respects them.

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16 Responses to Dear Authors…

  1. hl says:

    Wait so a writer you know, posted a funny meme about spelling, so you wrote a entire blog post bullying said person, and say they are the bully?
    I am not a writer. I am not good at grammar/spelling. And I find memes about spelling useful, they help me know its “a lot” not “alot”.

    • Kristy K. James says:

      No, I believe I said a meme has been making the rounds this week, not that ‘a writer’ I know posted it. It’s been all over Facebook. And it’s not the fact that it lets people know the correct way to write ‘a lot,’ it’s the fact that, in my opinion, it’s written in such a way as to embarrass those who spell it wrong.

      It’s no different than trying to embarrass someone with a weight problem when they eat, or insinuating someone is stupid just because they have blonde hair (as in dumb blonde jokes). Trying to make people feel stupid – for any reason – is and always will be wrong.

      Maybe being the mother of an autistic son gives me a different perspective, but I will never be able to just sit back and be okay with that degree of rudeness. No one is perfect, including those who create demeaning memes.

      • hl says:

        Ok, sorry not “a writer” but “authors” pleural.
        You do realize, ANYONE can write/make up a meme right? It is not professional’s making up memes, it is anyone who wants.
        Then, other people see said meme and they have think its funny, helpful, whatever it is that makes them share, like or post said meme. Anyone posting, sharing or liking a meme, article, recipe, helpful tip, whatever it is they are posting is not directed to any one person unless they TAG someone in it. They posted it because it struck a cord with them, anyone that doesnt like it can keep scrolling. If you take offense to every meme and anything else people post, then by all means, remove your self from the internet please. Its the same with say a parenting article, they aren’t posting it saying hey, your raising your child wrong. No, they probably liked it for themselves so they posted it to their wall so they could read it later. Unless like I said, they tag you, then you can take it as offense or directed to you or whatever. Just like you tagged all “authors” and anyone that reposted that meme and made it personal with them.
        And it is written in a way that makes you think of “aporkchop” laugh about it and write a lot instead of alot. It’s not written in a way to make fun of people, until you took offense to it.

        • Kristy K. James says:

          Obviously, not every meme I see bothers me since this is the only one I can remember blogging about. I’m sorry my being offended by it offends you, but I guess everyone is offended by something, right? Maybe we should agree to disagree about this. 🙂

  2. Korinna Rena Props-Berry says:

    See look at my typos!! You not who bit not but on not in an not am! I do promise it it my phone that changes these as my very crooked fingers use the stylus to punch this out. Predictive text and auto correct tend to humble many!

  3. Korinna Rena Props-Berry says:

    It’s funny you brought this subject up! If you’re the typo queen then I am next in line to the throne (not thrown)! Lol. There are other things to remember here also- we tend to use a lot of slang in our speaking. When authors use this in their books it’s okay, we get it as readers, but don’t correct the usage when traveling outside that realm. Don’t assume too much either, lower your haughty expectations and realize that some of your readers like to read. Period. They aren’t out to put on airs. The fact that social media has brought us closer can at times be a hindrance. Kristy I hate a bully! I was bullied. I could tell you my woes and how terribly I was treated, but it will not change the past. However, wonderful people like who remember that it is not okay to bully, makes my heart full! Thank you! In addition, I want to mention one other thing. It goes along with this subject. I formerly taught English and Business. I also write poetry and as you know, working in books. With that said, just because I was an English teacher it does not make me Skakespeare or Roget or Webster. Teaching Business does not make me am Iococca or a Trump. People automatically think I am a genius….so NOT! I was an excellent student in school and college and graduate school. I graduated with honors and was called a brown noser. No, I worked hard, but it does not make me a brown noser or an authority! With that said, I have done some editing for a couple authors, one who told me I had my work cut out for me. He was right. No need to condemn when it can be fixed. You made very valuable points and I am grateful you brought it up. No enemy here! We all side step the English language daily- no need to point it out to make you look superior, in fact, isn’t that just a wee but narciccistic? Lol! Thanks Kristy!!!!

    Oh and pls excuse the typos hahaha

    • Kristy K. James says:

      Hi, Korinna!
      I understand because I was also a victim of bullying. In school, I was horribly shy. I was also a good student (and my younger siblings hated getting teachers I’d already had because they didn’t like hearing comments like, ‘why can’t you be more like your sister’). As you probably know, shy, nerdy kids are targets for relentless teasing – and worse. So when I see it going on online, it really bothers me. I don’t think most of them realize it, but that doesn’t make it right.

      As I explained to Ruth Ann, my dad was one of the smartest, most talented people I’ve ever known … and he had a 9th grade education. If he were alive and on social media, he’d be a prime target for grammar and spelling Nazis. If I wouldn’t tolerate it for him, I certainly can’t tolerate it when it happens to others.

      Like you said, spelling skills aren’t an indicator of how intelligent people are. Throw in auto-correct and predictive text … and don’t even get me started on speech to text, lol. I HATE texting. I like keyboards, so when I have to make notes or send an actual text, I turn to speech to text. Where I live, the city Charlotte is pronounced Shar-lot (not Shar-lut like it is down south). But if I say that int T2S, it writes Sherlock – every time. That makes using GPS on my phone a nightmare. 😀

      Anyway, you’re typos are fine here. And auto-correct and predictive text? I LOVE those. My daughter sent me a message once and wrote LOL. What came through though was a word like beef. I knew exactly what it was and laughed until I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I wasn’t making fun of her in any way – I just love how auto-correct mutilates messages. In fact, I’ll waste far too much time on the DYAC site because it’s too much fun seeing what it’s done to other people. 😀

  4. Libby says:

    Thank you.

  5. I think this is a good reason why “judge not lest ye be judged” is such a good thing to go by. We all make editing mistakes. At some point in our lives, we have all done it. We’re human. No one has ever written 100% perfectly 100% of the time.

    It’s a shame when people don’t show more mercy.

    • Kristy K. James says:

      I agree, Ruth Ann. My dad was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known – but he only had a 9th grade eduction and couldn’t spell well at all. But we had great conversations, and he was a master at building things like glassed in sun rooms, fancy decks, and beautiful furniture. It’s because of him that I never judge people based on their spelling abilities. That skill doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s the heart and the mind that do, and those are what I value more than whether someone says ‘alot’ or ‘a lot.’ 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well said!!! I am waiting for your new book, hurry up will you.

    • Kristy K. James says:

      Thank you very much. 🙂 And I’m working on it. I’m hoping to get it to my editors by Monday. 🙂

  7. prudencemacleod says:

    Their, they’re, dear. Relax. hee hee hee Okay, I’ll confess it. I’d be a shambles without spell check and my beloved editor. 🙂

    • Kristy K. James says:

      LOL…I so know the feeling, Prudence. I have typos, missing words, extra words… It would help if my brain and fingers worked in sync ALL the time, but they don’t. 😀

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