With a nod to those three fine fellas from the five boroughs, I posted the following question on a company Facebook-type site:

“I’m wondering what importance we place on writing well, regardless of your position: Do you think about it or just write? Use spellcheck or shoot from the hip? What’s your approach to communication?”

I asked these questions because I do care about what I write – and it’s my job to care about what others write. Receiving two responses … wait, make that three (one more while I’m writing this) within two hours of posting, I was pleasantly surprised to find others who share a similar concern for the written word. One responder brought up the unfortunate trend of instant messaging and text messages contributing to “lackluster writing.” I couldn’t agree more. I mean, I’m the kind of guy who takes the time to punctuate text messages correctly.

The above posting continued: “However, it’s up to us to maintain quality.” And there it was: Quality.

This word hit me for several reasons:

  • It’s an adequate word choice for our collective responsibility.
  • Like the change of scenery and entering a new industry, one intangible that endeared my then-prospective employer to me was our tagline: “Quality In Everything We Do.” The word quality is of interest to me since ensuring quality in writing is the locus of my work.
  • The word – like the sentence that contains it – applies to so much more than writing. But I’ve already addressed that in an earlier post.

I suppose that quality in terms of writing was what drove me to that posting earlier today. Why? I write, edit, and proofread for a living, so I see the good, the bad, and the are-you-missing-keys-on-your-keyboard?!? At times, I’m encouraged by the quality of that which I edit and the text messages I read; other times, I read to my chagrin; still other times, I become nauseous.

Perhaps, after retiring, I could open up Derek Hambrick’s Institute for People Who Can’t Write Good or maybe sponsor a chain of Grammar, Spelling, & Syntax Shelters for Editors.

Until then, I seek to elevate writing’s quality. And I’m glad that others still care about it, too.

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