To succeed as a writer, you absolutely MUST be teachable in matters of basic writing: grammar, spelling, and punctuation. However, it’s likely you’re not perfect in this (you don’t need to be) and you’re not sure you can move forward in your writing career until you are.
There’s no shame in listening to grammar podcasts, reading blogs, or taking courses online. (Many of them are free!)
A wise writer pursues excellence through self-educating. Consider buying a dictionary, the Chicago Manual of Style, and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Spring for editing software like AutoCrit or ProWriterAid. Get the free version of Grammarly. Bookmark grammar help websites for a quick reference. Make friends with other writers who are willing to gently edit and then reciprocate.
I asked members of the Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists what their favorite resources were for grammar, spelling, and punctuation help. Here were some of their answers:
If you are careless, you will alienate readers and never be taken seriously by any agent or publisher. Yet, if you are too careful and obsess over every word, you may freeze in fear and never complete anything. Instead, do your best. Check out the Tuesday Buddy Day thread on 10 Minute Novelists and ask someone to read over it. When it’s time for the completed manuscript to be edited (if your intention is to market it) spend the money and hire a professional editor to help.
Don’t let your lack of knowledge or skill intimidate you. You are not a failure if you have trouble with any of these issues. Real writers, successful writers, don’t let their weaknesses keep them from pursuing their dreams. I’ve never met a writer yet that didn’t occasionally refer to outside sources for help in these areas, even the ones who majored in English. (I have written seven books and I still am very dependent on editors and proofreaders!)
On the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group, we often say, “your dreams are worth 10 minutes.” It is true. It’s equally true that “your dreams are worth doing your very best.”