Since starting work as a development assistant (read: fundraiser) at my job nearly a year ago, I have been “encouraged” to write in the style of the organization. It wasn’t until talking to my friend Alison last night over beers that I realized that the organizational style comes with some big draw backs. By the way, Alison is in the media and publications department for the same nonprofit as me; she is also a darn good editor. So for the sake of your reading pleasure, I have opted to share with you the 4 big bad writing habits that I have developed over the past 11 months. This way you can catch them for me when I slip up in this blog, that or you can graciously ignore my grievous mistakes.
1. The em dash. Sentences should rarely include this punctuation, but somehow I have come to substitute it for commas, semicolons, colons, and even missing words. Shame on me! I didn’t even know the use of an em dash before starting this job. (Check out this funny article pleading for the death of the em dash.)
2. Cliched phrasing. If I have to introduce a letter with the words “experience of a lifetime” or “life changing” one more time, I might just “fling myself off a building”.
3. Over exclaiming!!!! I know that I need to get people excited about our organization, but I don’t think the exclamation point is quite as effective as I would like it to be. Maybe I should use CAPS LOCK as well next time.
4. And my last offense is the overuse of bold. Anything that needs any kind of emphasis gets bolded.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the most grammatically aware writer, nor am I all that well versed in proper punctuation usage. You should go to Ashley if you want to see that. I will however use this post as a reminder to myself to be more rigorous in my blog post editing, and you all feel free to call me out on my mistakes. (I’m sure there are even some in this very post.)
What bad habits has your job encouraged? I also choose to blame my caffeine over-consumption on this job. We are right next to a coffee shop and I have daily walks over for an americano at 9am and 2pm religiously. For more on coffee, tune in to Ashley’s post early next week.