Sure you do. The hours spent memorizing facts and figures, hoping to keep them long enough to pass, seemed like a dreadful waste of time. Today, I have been cramming for an imaginary exam on the use of the comma. I’ve been at it for almost 4 hours. I feel drained.
Why would one do such a thing?
If I have learned anything this past week, it is that getting a book from brain to eyeballs, is a lot of work. The time involved is staggering. If I am able to master the comma, and possibly its tricky little cousin, the semicolon, I may be able to shave days, nay weeks, off of the editing process. (Note: the adjectives tricky and little are not coordinated adjectives, and as such, don’t require commas. I love speaking punctuation. It makes me feel good about myself. I digress…)
I intend to write many more books. One day spent mastering, or at the very least, understanding the comma, seems like a prudent investment of time. I’ve written about the comma, and my battles with its use, several times before.
I tend to be a little bit obsessive about learning new stuff. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you about my many interests outside of writing, woodworking, and snarking. It makes for some extremely average reading. I was asked, by my mother, if I regretted not learning about the comma, when I was younger. I told her no, I didn’t care about the comma until recently. Now I love it.
I used to think it was a scary little mark, which was just waiting to bite me. I still have nightmares about 8th grade English. It isn’t really such a bad punctuation, when you get to know it.
Would you like to become friends with the comma?
I simply printed out each exercise. Next, I did my best on each one. There is a link to the answers, and I was careful to understand why I had made mistakes. Now, I know what I am doing. Will I still make mistakes? Yes, probably, but I will also be able to find them during the edits. So, I’m feeling pretty good right now.