Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Writing Pet Peeves - and Yours?

Like anyone, I have my likes and dislikes, and I strive hard to keep the dislikes in their cages so they don't turn my blue skies gray. But some days, when I'm not so much on my game, pet peeves get under my skin. Thought you might like to see a few of them . . . and share with me a few of yours.

  • People who ask me to buy their book and never tell me what it's about.
  • People who brag about who they are, say "buy my book," and never tell me what it's about.
  • Writers who do not tell me their website or blog or online connection so I can learn more.
  • Unsigned email.
  • Passive voice.
  • Blogs without an option to receive posts via email.
  • Email attachments.
  • White text on a black (or blue) background.
  • 8 point font on a website/blog.
  • Writers who argue with their critiquers.
  • Reasons why not instead of reasons why.
  • Anonymous criticism.
  • Anonymous quotes (why quote someone who may not exist?)
  • Politics in my writing world.
  • Slow Internet.
  • A computer mouse with a wire.
  • Low lighting.
  • No toner in my printer . . . or the house.
  • The sound of television while I write.
  • Common words like LOOK, VERY, LITTLE, GET/GOT, PULL, HAD.
  • Unknown writers critical of successful writers.
  • Successful writers critical of any other writer.
  • Fat pens.
  • No lotion beside my computer.
  • No tea beside my computer.
  • Cold feet under my computer.
  • A low chair.
  • Pop-up ads.
  • Automatic music on a website.
Funny, when I go back and study some of these, I laugh. Those I can do something about, I should. The others I should ignore. Wow, isn't it nice to categorize our writing lives so easily, identify the problems, and blow them away like a feather? Isn't it silly what gets in the way of a good writing moment?

Now, where's my good pen?


Ann Summerville said...

Great post. I'm with you on most of those. But a nice cup of tea can solve most of the annoyances.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Anonymous criticism bothers me, too. Chocolate helps dissolve my problems away.

Cheryl Barker said...

My biggest pet peeve is probably an editor who never replies to one of my submissions -- even after I follow up with a request for a status check and maybe even a SASE if I don't hear back then. Very frustrating...

MissMarie said...

You should always take your peeves out and pet them once in a while, because they like attention, too.
My biggest one are the walking pens. I know that is what must happen, because the children never own up to stealing my pens.

Unknown said...

On some level it can not be all about success.
I mean there are successful writers that express a stack of obviousness. Does this render them untouchable their mere sales?
Relativity applies in writing as in anything else.
My web site for fun reading is:

It has bilingual micro and short stories.
Just clic down to read the english version because the google translator devastates all meaning.

Val said...

I have issues with the Blogger word-processing dealybobber that won't show that the cursor has moved when I hit the ENTER button. The cursor stays right there at the end of my last paragraph, all nestled up against my punctuation mark. When I start typing the new paragraph, the words are in the right place. But it's hard to remember if I've spaced down. This doesn't happen in Old Blogger. So why should it occur in the updated version?

LAR1975 said...

Here, I'd have to draw at least two distinctions, and probably permutations of each of those. I have editing peeves (of myself and others); those peeves differ as to whether I'm editing for work purposes or simply reading for pleasure and the editor in my head makes an appearance. In general, I'm a lot more sharp-tongued with myself than with any other writer (again, whether I'm reading for pleasure or business). As an editor, I have always taken the "spoonful of sugar" approach. Peeves directed at myself include misspellings, not sticking to a task (multitasking is overrated!), forgetfulness, poor writing, and lack of self-motivation. The few times that I get publicly incensed writer-to-writer typically touch on issues of empathy. I know writing can be a dog-eat-dog world, but I get a definite kink in my leash, if you will, when writers take the ad-hominem route to savage one another for "working too cheaply." No one knows the ship I pilot, nor can I fully navigate theirs, so I don't disparage those who work for $10 or $20 per short article. Maybe she's disabled and just scraping by. Maybe he's a single parent trying to support a couple children by living the writing life. That is to say, I still think there's room on the writing ladder to move from low-paying articles to better-paying ones rather than a more successful writer demanding that the low-paying jobs evaporate immediately, putting lots of people out of work.
Instead, I try to direct my efforts to advocate in my own small way for writers' rights by encouraging fellow writers along the path toward not only improvement in writing quality but the better pay they deserve if they put in the research, writing, and self-editing to attain it. On another note, I've always thought the word "free" has no place in the job title of freelancer. Instead, I like to think of myself as a 'feelancer.'

Krissy Brady, Writer said...

I LOVE your list! I have a couple of pet peeves: writers who have the "shakespeare" complex, where they act like their writing should be accepted by the masses the second they put it down on paper, and I too have to have tea close by or look out, lol! :)

Hope Clark said...

I started having that problem when I changed from IE to Firefox. But I love Firefox so much, I've learned to deal with the FB quirks. Guess that doesn't rank as pet peeve yet for me. LOL

widdershins said...

Tea - a writer's survival kit in a cup.

White text on black background - GRRRRRRR

More tea anyone?

JD said...

Love, love your image for this post. Drew me in immediately. I wanted to know what was making the bunny so unhappy. Lol!

I'm with you on a lot of these. I'd add my pet peeve of people reading over my shoulder. Unless it's a joint email, such behavior is a no-no with me.

Enjoy your weekend.

D.G. Hudson said...

Hope, remember that some blogs don't offer email addresses for a privacy reason. A person can always comment on that blog if they want to contact the blog owner. (assuming comments have been activated)

One pet peeve I had was with an author who recently published a book, publicized in a lot of media, but there was no way to comment or contact her for feedback. You had to contact her publisher, or jump through a few other hoops, to even let her know you thought the book was great. If I have to search several different media to give feedback, I usually don't bother.

In contrast I was able to reach another author(fiction & writing instructions) who had a better webpage and teaches at the university level. I was able to contact her and let her know that I had reviewed her book. I've recommended it to anyone who reads my book reviews. How the person presents themselves makes a BIG difference in how much effort someone will take to follow up.

Hope Clark said...


Ooh, you hit on one of my pet peeves. I want to connect with someone via email, even a form on a website. But I want to connect. If someone doesn't make themselves available, I don't like it. You'd be surprised at how many people want to have fans but don't want to connect with them. Until we are NYT Best Selling Authors, we should be available and should return emails of everyone who writes us. Gosh, they bought your work. They like who you are. How can you ignore that?