Well, this has been a rollicking debate, with impassioned comments from both sides of the perfectionism issue. Also, please check out the great back-and-forth on this from our often-amusing, occasionally brilliant WD forumistas.
Please allow me to make a clarification on my post below, because I don’t want anyone saying the Writer’s Digest editor said it was okay to be sloppy. No. I’m referring to perfectionism specifically related to blogs and forum postings. If you’re submitting to an online publication, you always need to make your submission as perfect as it can be. We ran an article on this topic in WD “Cast a Wider Net.”
Here’s a quote from John Warner of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency:
I don’t treat it [an online submission] any differently, though I suppose with online publications there’s a greater demand to be timely or produce a piece in rapid response to events. I think sometimes writers mistake online publications for the minor leagues and don’t always take sufficient time to polish the pieces they submit, which may be keeping them from having success.
And back on this issue of blog perfectionism, I’d like to throw out this stat provided by our New Media department:
• Resolution of a computer screen is 30X lower than resolution of a printed page.
I’m curious to know what percentage of bloggers take the time to print out their posts and proofread before uploading to the Web. My estimate: 0%. Since it’s a known fact that reading from a computer screen is more difficult, of course more errors are going to slip through—it’s just reality.
I’m going to devote more posts to online writing. It’s a medium evolving at the speed of light and writers need to set the pace.
Always aim for great writing. Always aim for clarity. And no IM-speak (unless you’re using it ironically). Keep the faith.