Bad Writing Habits, Part Deux

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The last time I opined about my writing faults (and tips for correcting them), many of my talented Muffin bloggers admitted that they, too, shared my bad writing habits. One of our bloggers, Sue Bradford Edwards, went so far as to ask: 

Seriously - don't any of us have unique bad habits? Something quirky but adorable? 

Never let it be said that Cathy C. Hall would back down from a dare. (Technically, there wasn’t a dare but I definitely felt it was implied.) And so today, allow me to present my quirky but adorably unique bad writing habits: 

The Folder That’s Stuffed With 87, 567 Non-Fiction Ideas That Are Gathering Dust (And Will Most Likely Never See the Light of Day) 

So I go to a lot of museums, tumble down a lot of web rabbit holes, even stop at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere when I see one of those historical plaques with some obscure factoid. Invariably, I will scribble notes about something unbelievably fascinating that I just know will make either a. a terrific article or b. a hot-selling book. And yet, I don’t seem to find these ideas as compelling once they land in that folder. I should pull out an idea and run with it but do I? No. I do not. That’s kinda quirky, right? 

The Folder That’s Stuffed With 56, 312 Fiction Ideas And/Or First Couple Pages of a Story or Novel That Are Gathering Dust (And Will Most Likely Never See the Light of Day)

See above paragraph. Granted, this is not unique, quirky, or adorable but it is interesting that I treat fiction and non-fiction ideas equally. That is to say, I ignore ‘em once I come up with ‘em. 

Using the Word “Just” Just a Smidge Too Much 

Come on, now, you know that’s just adorable. 

My Love Affair with the Parenthetical Statement (As If You Didn’t Know That One) 

I’m not sure when those lovely parentheses lured me in, but I simply cannot write a blog post, or honestly, an update on social media, without using a parenthetical statement (or two). Most of my parenthetical statements are funny asides rather than the normal use of adding an explanation or what-have-you. So they’re awfully quirky (in my opinion). And most people find my humorous parenthetical statements charmingly adorable (or maybe that’s just me). 

Anyway, my Muffin blogger friends, now it’s your turn. And heck, why give them all the fun? What’s your unique bad writing habit? (Something quirky but adorable preferred.)


Unknown said...

I don't do anything quirky, writer-wise. I mean, I do love to have at least a couple of em dashes in every paragraph, and if a piece has less than a dozen ellipses, I don't think the piece is finished yet... but that's not quirky or weird, right?

Sue Bradford Edwards said...


Love these! As long as we are going all true confession -

I have to go through my manuscripts and hunt down the words START and BEGIN.

Also, when I am drafting, I sometimes won't stop to look something up. Or figure out a really clever way to transition. So my manuscripts are littered with caps. NEED ANOTHER EXAMPLE. COME UP WITH A BRILLIANT TRANSITION. THIS CANNOT POSSIBLY BE RIGHT - CAN IT?

And, a certain someone who has been sharing my office says that I talk to myself. In reality, I am reading things out loud. Entirely different.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Cathy this post made me smile. I was just thinking recently I needed to write a post on my overuse of commas. I just can't seem to stop putting them where they don't belong.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--Sorry. I was working under my work email, so my comment went as "Unknown." However, you probably already knew that I'm the ellipses and em dash queen...

Renee Roberson said...

I just can't stop using the word just. I have to do a find and replace on every document in the editing stages!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh yeah, Sioux, I knew that was you. I'm quite fond of the ellipsis, too. It gets a bad rap. I don't know why...

Oh, Sue! I leave blank spaces but I know another writer who uses all caps with comments to herself, Which I personally think is brilliant! (Same for talking to oneself. It's when you start having a conversation with yourself that one crosses the line from brilliantly adorable to uh-oh.)

Jeanine, the commas! You are not alone. :-)

And Renee, I used to pull out all my "justs." But then I thought, shoot, Cathy, that's what makes you SO adorable. Leave 'em in and be adorable, too. :-)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Cath! So I have an addiction to using the word "so" in my newsletter/email writing. Not so much so in my creative writing because I purposely do a find/replace for any "so"s, but I can't seem to transition from one sentence to the next without using so every so often. It's SO annoying! ;)

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