Is It Time for You to Get Down With the Sic-Ness?

a red pen sitting on a paper that has proofreading mark corrections on it
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

I have a confession to make: I used to be one of those people who would correct other people’s grammar and spelling.

Sometimes I came right out and did it. Especially when I didn’t agree with the logical premise of their argument, I’d turn into the proofreader that nobody hired. Instead of actually addressing their argumentative contentions, I’d be all up in their syntax.

And even if I didn’t actually come right out and say it, I’d do it in my head. Look down upon other people’s “errors” with a kind of smugness about the whole thing. Positioning myself as superior.

My own writing at that time was meticulously polished. Back in those days, I never wrote in fragments. Even if it meant that I wrote in sentences that were virtually paragraphs. (Clearly, that’s changed.)

I would incessantly apologize for typos in subsequent comments, since all of the major social media platforms at the time lacked the ability to edit a status after posting, much the way that Twitter is now. As though it even mattered. As though it made it any more difficult, really, for someone else to read my thoughts.

Looking back, I think these behaviors were a sign of insecurity. And a sign that I took my identity as a writer (and former English major) very seriously. That I felt like it endowed me with certain rights and certain responsibilities. I think I was hungry for it to mean something, the hours I’d spent studying and applying what I’d learned. Because it sure as hell hadn’t endowed me with a hefty paycheck.

Getting Down With the Sic-Ness

And then one day, I woke up and realized I was kind of being a jerk. Offering other people my unsolicited opinions about form and style.  And I also realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors, by being such a stickler about things that didn’t matter. Wasting energy to make sure that anything I wrote would hold up to the kind of scrutiny I was needlessly subjecting other people’s writing to.

What if, I wondered, I just wrote? And let other people write. Not being so worried about whether what anybody wrote was “right” according to the rules of style, so long as it was able to be read and understood.

Y’know. Like one does with spontaneous speech. Communication.

What if I just wrote like I spoke? And let others do the same thing as well. And let typos just happen when they happen.

What if I stopped pointing out the sic as it occurred in the wild. (Sic being that funky Latin word that appears in brackets beside spelling and grammar errors when they’re quoted from the original source.)

What if I just shut my damn mouth and instead got down with the sic-ness? Let myself make “mistakes” that somehow worked? And zipped my lip when others did the same?

So I did.

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Here’s what happened: I began to write more easily and fluently than I ever had in my life. I built up a sizable readership. And I found my blood pressure much improved after I stopped really caring how people wrote so long as I could understand, more or less, what they were saying.

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My new book is out!

Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).

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