Spontaneous and laid back, that's what I am going to be here. No pre-scheduling, no agonising over topics, just be, just breathe. Write whatever rubbish I feel like, edit or not if I feel like, no-one's going to read it anyway.
I read much stuff on blogs, mostly written by young people, I am way over the age of the average blogger, and so I am reading the gen-next's or Y's or Z's language instead of the antiquated version that oldies like me use. A lot of poetry floating around in the blogosphere, and I read many poems, asking to be voted up some forum or the other. I am fresh from an excruciatingly painful read, not poetry, but something that promised the reader that it will show them (me) how to write better, and then veered off into such realms of errors and fuzziness that I clicked away feeling a little disappointed, cheated even. It was my first time there, and the last.
Therefore, this morning I am just going to spell out what is more likely to get my vote and what is a turn-off.
- Poor spellings and SMS shorthand. However modern and cutting edge the language may be, I will click away after the first line if I see "you" spelt as "u". i cnt fthm t 2 sv ma lf, cn u? I don't think so! I can't be lovin' lovin' and ain't too much either, unless it is part of dialogue.
- Plainly wrong language. No-one has any business to write poetry if they don't know the difference between conscience and conscious. Correction, no business writing anything at all. The vocab must be sorted first thing.
- Forced rhymes. Especially if the poor heads of verbs in the present tense are knocked into a "do" or "did" for the sake of the rhyme scheme. Like so
The moon did shine
over the skyline
Forced rhymes are off-putting. Tremendously.
Poems don't have to rhyme
Every. Single. Time.
- Peppering things liberally with archaic words just because the poem is a medieval fixed form verse. Thy and thine have been replaced for more than a century now. Just because a sonnet or a rondeau is being attempted doesn't mean it must have thee and thy and doth and maketh all over it. Maketh me despair and tear out my grey tresses by the handfuls!
- And if I see "thee" in one line and "you" spelt "u" in the next, well I am getting right out of there with my life and brain intact, never to return again.
- The poem/post is more likely to get my vote if it doesn't use formal words unless absolutely necessary, such as "depart" instead of "leave". The tone of the writing should match the words used, using a lot of long words in a nursery rhyme would be quite suicidal for a poet if they want to be read and memorised by children, for example. Simple language works better always, at least for me, and I suspect for a lot of readers, even adults.
- Muddled up tenses, particularly use of "had been", "was" and "is". Mixed up time frames in prose is difficult enough to wrap my head around, in poetry it is excruciating. Thanks, but no, thanks. I am off to read something that requires less effort to decipher.
In a former life, for a couple of decades, I was a market researcher writing reports. Like all things, market research has its good and bad points, its own takeaway in writing, and its life lessons. When clients paid for information, there was little scope for poor communication, even less for inept language, verbosity and grammar errors. Client satisfaction depended on being able to see established things from a fresh angle, to strike the right note, to communicate the right information crisply and simply, error-free both in content and style. Only if I got it right would the clients come back again. Repeat business was one way of measuring organisational and individual effectiveness, my job depended on it.
Writing poetry and writing a business plan seem poles apart at first glance. But they are not. Nothing is more pared down, crisper than a poem, the same old concepts of love and heartbreak and human foibles looked at from fresh angles; here too poor communication means the poem falls apart. Here too the need for the right note, the language clear and error-free, the content matched to the style seamlessly. Otherwise, the reader doesn't call back.