Every Friday, Chicago-based writer and editor Evan Peterson offers five stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out. It’s the Week in Writing:
Tweeting about the Twitter outage.
If you manage your company or your client's Twitter feed, you no doubt experienced some amount of panic yesterday when the social network went down for 80 minutes. Or maybe it made you more productive. In any case, Tom Pick of Webbiquity pulled together 10 of the best "Twitter is down" tweets, after service was restored. Read the list here
The space between writing.
Have you ever used a writing app? This post from the London Review of Books blog mentions a couple of interesting apps for scribes, including Write or Die
, which deletes text after 45 seconds of inactivity, and Written? Kitten!
, which rewards you with a picture of a kitten after every 100 words. But forcing yourself to type doesn't solve the problem, according to Jenny Diski. Writers need time to write, and often that means doing anything but putting words on paper. Contemplative moments are when it happens, she writes. “Almost always, you do eventually start to write, and it seems that you’ve been considering after all.” Read the post here
New verbs for the web.
“Tweet,” “like,” “fan,” “Google,” and “pin" are a few of the verbs of the Web that either weren't words a few years ago, or have taken on a totally separate meaning. Why do we talk and write like this now? One source in this story from The New York Times says brands didn’t plan it this way: “When they go viral, they’re naturally lightweight and unpretentious.” Also find out why no one says “Bing it.” Although this story is from May, it’s still worth the read. Read the full story here
Banished and Banned words.
More than a few popular lists are put together each year that aim to ban or banish words from the English language for their overuse or emergence as a cliché. Dawn McIlvain of copyediting.org writes that while most of these words probably deserve to be ignored for a while, banning them completely is a little excessive. Read the post here
Bad grammar in the office.
Sometimes writers and editors aren't the only ones in the office who have strong opinions on style and grammar. In an age in which email is considered long-form (even nostalgic) and most people use Facebook, Twitter, and texting to communicate, plenty of workers fear quality writing and editing are on the decline. Sue Shellenbarger writes for The Wall Street Journal
about the phenomenon, noting one study that found 45 percent of employers surveyed planned to increase employee programs to improve grammar. One possible solution: A writing instructor in the story "requires all job applicants at his nine-employee firm—including people who just want to pack boxes—to pass spelling and grammar tests before he will hire them." Read the story here
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.