Friday, February 10, 2012

Exclamation Points Anonymous

My name is Katie, and I have a problem. Not the most original way to start a blog post, I know, but I feel the need to absolve myself, to confess my sins, and to allow you to pass what judgement you will on the person I really am.

And the person I really am is a person who abuses the delightful form of punctuation known as the exclamation point (among other things, as you'll see). As a writer, it smarts to admit that. I'm going to leave it out there for a minute so that you can mull it over and let the truth sink in.


Ready? Okay. When I'm in my "writing" zone, this problem rarely rears its ugly and enthusiastic head. I don't really get the urge to litter my work with that cute little line and dot combo that can be either incredibly annoying or incredibly endearing, depending on whom you ask. I guess recording my thoughts for a blog post or composing a work of fiction just doesn't call for the little guy too much, so he mostly stays away.

Thank goodness.

But in everyday life, oh, he's there. Boy, is he ever there.

In comments on my favorite blogs, he's there.

In text messages to friends and family, he's there.

In tweets and Facebook updates, Lord help me, he's there.

In emails composed to my coworkers and superiors, emails that are supposed to be professional, the little stinkin' bugger is there.

I hate him sometimes. I hate that he makes me sound like a lunatic who's yelling everything.

"Sure, Jenny! I'll be at the meeting today! I can't wait!"

I'm either a lunatic who's yelling everything or an overenthusiastic idiot who probably seems pretty insincere. Neither are very appealing images, which is why: This. Must. Stop.

I have to let go of security blankets like exclamation points, ellipses, and random capitalization. I have to let my words speak for themselves without the aid of certain devices. Sure, there's a place for those devices. But I need to learn to use them with a lighter hand, to not be that writer who uses them as a crutch, as a way to clutter their writing and distract from their message.

We all know that writer.

The one!! Who loves everything!!! And wants you to get excited about it!!!! And love it, too!!!!!

The one who...puts every sentence...they...write...

The one who RANDOMLY capitalizes WORDS to place, often unnecessary, EMPHASIS.

I have been that writer. I am that writer. But today's a new day, and the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have it. Well, I have it. And from here on out, I'm breaking up with the exclamation point, the ellipses, and that ever-annoying random capitalization.

We'll still be friends though!!!!



Edited to add: I typed this from a printed version of the post last night. I very obviously did not proofread. To those who may have read this before I fixed my glaring errors, I apologize.

Edited (again) to add: If you are a serial exclamation point user like me, never fear. I will still love you, as I navigate my own road to recovery. You just keep doing what you do best. I'm the one with the problem. Not you :)


Do you have any weird writing quirks that drive you crazy? Do you over-punctuate? Do you abuse the exclamation point?! Well, DO YOU!?!?!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...