I was never really good at grammar. Growing up, my grammar always had to be corrected when I wrote, but also my punctuation. Commas? I like my sentences fast, just like how I move. LOL. But seriously I either had tons of run ons or had way too many in a sentence. Honestly, it made me very self conscious about my writing. I started to question whether my writing ideas would be taken seriously if my punctuation was all over the place or if I it wasn’t completely sound grammatically. So every time I submitted an assignment for a writing class my stomach just hurt. I was dreading the feedback because it was always brought up.
I finally got sick of it and went in search for some grammar classes. I was already taking writing classes at Litreactor and one day I saw an online class for Grammar 101. Say what? It was exactly what I needed. And guess what they even had a Grammar 102 class later on that year. I ended up signing up for both classes.
Taylor was our instructor and she was so nice! She has a real sense of humor too! Every few days we would have a different grammar topic she would cover with us. There was a total of 8 topics in each class. She typed up a whole lesson for us to read and provided us with examples as well to help us understand. Then we would look at the homework tab and she would have an assignment for us to do. After 1-2 days she would post the answers and if we were confused or had questions she was always an email away.
I’m gonna be honest, half the stuff I don’t even remember learning. I’m like did I block all this stuff out or what? Maybe I did.
While I took grammar classes I also snuck in some writing classes as well. During the break between Grammar 101 and 102 I took another writing class. There was a group of 8 students and we would have to write a story each month and then turn it into the whole group. Well, one of the students didn’t give me any feedback saying that the lack of punctuation made it difficult to even read the paper. I found that laughable at best considering her story which I read and actually gave feedback on what half done and in some parts made no sense. It seemed like she rushed it and then thought it was the best thing she’d ever written. She needed a reality check, so I know she was pissed with some of the comments I made regarding her story. Needless to say we didn’t get along and I ignored her and her stories for the rest of the class. Now before anyone thinks I’m petty, she never gave me any feedback on my stories for the rest of the class either. She accidentally sent her feedback on someone’s story to everyone, and the comments were so rude and harsh to the other writer. I understand someone my have comments on a writers work, but there is no need to be nasty. If I never have her in another class with me again I’ll be ecstatic!
So while I was working on my grammar I got to know Taylor a little more in the Grammar 102 class. I emailed her privately and told her I felt like I was struggling and she even took a look at one of the stories I’d written to identify where I was having issues. Punctuation was my main issue. I really appreciated her feedback. She also gave me some reference books to look at, the main one being- Chicago Manual of Style. Taylor said this would be a great reference if I didn’t understand something about punctuation or grammar. But not to just read it (which I was gonna do), but look up exactly what I needed at that time. And I have. I would also highly suggest this book as well.
My grammar is still a work in progress, but trying to learn it and understand the rules made me more aware of my writing and how I create my sentences. Heck, I even read books a little differently trying to see how other authors structure their sentences while noticing their punctuation.
We are all going to have some type of weakness as a writer. Mine just happens to be punctuation and grammar. But I don’t let that stop me. I feel like I am finally in the groove of writing and I just keep going. I try to find any mistakes during my editing, but I also have my sister look for punctuation or grammar issues with my work as my Beta reader. And yes I do buy her gifts of appreciation as a thank you because she really does help me.
But enough about me. What’s a perceived weakness in your writing? And how are you overcoming it?