I have always liked, no – enjoyed and thrived – in telling stories. I am a story teller. I cannot resist it. I like to spin tales whether fact or fiction and watch the faces of my audience. The truth be told, I talk too much and listen too little. In Yorkshire terminology, I could talk the hind legs off a donkey! My idea of a good night is to sit, glass in hand, telling stories and being told stories, entertaining those willing to listen and feeding off the other’s tales.
What I am most certainly not is a writer in the classical sense of the word. Last night, I happened on an article and simply hundreds of comments about the fact that there should be only one space after a full stop. That people should obsess over such a thing and that so many would find this important reminded me that I am not a writer. I care not a jot for comma placement and complex grammatical construction. I have long forgotten the difference between an adverb and an adjective and wouldn’t know what an alliteration was if it hit me in the nose. Nor frankly, do I care. Yes, I do recognize that many do and justify their entire earthly existence on their grammar skills and, while I do not mean to belittle them or insult them, this is to me is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
I do however, write. I write a lot. In fact, I write for a living. I write white papers, research reports, magazine articles, blog posts, analyst notes, ghost write magazine articles, white papers, marketing collateral and much, much more. I also write books on the side – poetry, short stories, occult books and novels. I am not a writer though. I am a story teller.
Yes, my white papers are full of thought leadership, competitive arguments, expertise about the subject matter and more. I can’t be sure the gap between my full stop and the start of the next line is one space and I am pretty sure my clients care not a jot either. It is the content they want. What is in my head placed in a readable and compelling way on the page. They must like what they get because our business is thriving.
As for my books. Well, I enjoy writing poetry the most or shall we simply call it free verse. It is full of adverbs, adjectives and alliterations because, like a self taught musician, I know what sounds and effects I like using words even if I am unclear on the rules. And, just like good music is often as much about the performers’ style and imperfections as it is about composition, my style is my style and it works.
Rules are made for a reason. They are made largely to have us conform if the truth be told. An artist will often break all the rules to create something creative and be lauded for it. Knowing basic grammar and how to spell is a pre-requisite to being able to communicate but being so focused on writing and all that takes to me is to be focused on the wrong thing. People want to be entertained. I am an entertainer and just like the bards of old, my stories contain underlying elements of a truth that I hope my readers will see, question and learn from. I am not interested in being perfect and I am not interested in the reviews of such people either.
I am a story teller. Nothing more.
I’m with you on this. A classical writer will adhere to the rules, and we do have to ‘learn them like a pro in order to break them as an artist’ to paraphrase Picasso. Those who write to share a story mainly appear to break every rule in the book in order to write as they would speak if you were sitting aorund that fire, glass in hand, and telling tales.
As to the single space after full stops…? As long as it is consistent in a document and you don’t want me personally to edit it… 😉