What I Hated the Least Today 181/365: Stet, Let It Stand

Let it stand, let it rust
Let it stand, let it rust

I’m trying to learn to become more of a stet person. Stet, let it stand, is a proofreading mark indicating that a correction should be ignored and the text should be left as it is. Letting anything as it is comes across as an extremely difficult skill to me as someone who, even when she’s not proofreading, spends time poking around, finding faults and, ideally, fixing them.

The urge to perfect what’s imperfect (which is everything) comes with a load of disadvantages attached, including that you spend all the time fiddling with things and have no time left for doing things. The only advantage is that I make a hell of a proofreader, and I’m sure I would make an excellent software tester, which I’d really fancy doing for money since I’m already doing it for free with all software I use.

Blogging assists me a little with developing some stet skills. When I started blogging in a text form rather than just posting uncommented pictures, I took forever to write a single line. I double-checked each word I used and was unsure of (you’re never sure, so each word) and devoted hours to writing and rewriting a tiny hundred-and-fifty-word post.

A year or two later, the present, I’ve grown a bit in the practice. Not only have I been writing a post on an everyday basis for the last half a year—that’s my 365 blogging challenge this post is part of—I also occasionally end up with thousand words or more written on the spur of the moment within a single sitting.

I don’t produce good quality, unless accidentally (I’m still intrigued by how my personally least favourite posts regularly become the most popular ones with readers). A fact of life which I don’t particularly like but have no saying in has it that the point today isn’t quality. While I’m unsure what the point is then, I’m pretty sure quality has become irrelevant. You can trust my keen discerning eye on that.

Blogging is a good example of quality playing no role from the greater perspective. That’s nothing to be necessarily depressed about, it follows naturally that a blog post is a text for fast immediate consumption, to be read and forgotten. No one is going to read my posts twice and ponder on them. In terms of efficiency, there is zero sense in crafting my posts as though they were to be carved in stone.

I may not know what the point is (and being an existentialist, I maintain that there is no point), but I should know what my point is. Well, my point is that the above is good news really—I’m learning to blog freely and carelessly, and I might even learn to extend this stet approach to other, non-blogging activities. Imagine the time I’d have and the stress I wouldn’t have.

23 thoughts on “What I Hated the Least Today 181/365: Stet, Let It Stand

  1. I loved reading this post. I won’t read it again, and ponder over it, though 🙂. What is the point in anything, anyway?! LOL And quality — what is good quality when it comes to a blog post?! That’s like that damned, hackneyed ad nauseam expression ‘it’s in the eye of the beholder’. I asked a photographer once, “what’s a good quality photo?”. “When you want to frame it and hang it on your wall”, he replied, and that’s fair enough, I guess shrug

    I think I wrote more freely when I started, but it isn’t bad now either. I do tend to pore over posts, though, before I hit Publish. I have an online buddy who has misspelt a word, consequently, for the ten years I’ve known it (!). Each time the word — which is very common — appears, I reply and use the word … spelt the right way. Doesn’t help. I think you can imagine how I’m itching to say something! But I don’t. Perhaps they think they’re “cool” in some twisted way.

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    1. You sent me off to Google whether it’s ponder on, as I used in the post, or ponder over, as you used in your comment, but apparently both is alright. Prepositions aren’t my strong point. Please do correct me though if you see that I’m constantly misspelling something. I don’t like to be corrected but I like to have it correct 😉

      I quite like the definition of a good photo that you suggest. Sounds fair enough. It’s so much extent a question of taste, as long as a photo isn’t obviously crooked or blurry or something. I used to be very concerned about whether my photos were good enough to post, but now I just let it be – after all, it’s just a blog post, so on this note, I posted my crappy food pics and let them be.

      While I like perfect, nothing ultimately is perfect, and often it’s not even worth trying to achieve it. So let’s just blog as we may, without stressing out if it’s good enough.

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      1. Prepositions are probably my weakest point.

        I would never correct the one I mentioned, though … that person would probably never speak to me again 🙂. It’s the same with me; I hate to be corrected, but still I want to be correct … so there’s a fine line LOL

        I’m always concerned about getting the horizon straight. I’ve seen some really snotty remarks around the groups by self-proclaimed ‘photographers’ … when some poor person has left the horizon slanted.

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        1. I’m thinking it’s just as well that I don’t call myself either a photographer or a writer, just a blogging person, so it hopefully discourages criticism from professionals. It’s hard to provide constructive criticism, and this helpful kind o criticism seems to be quite rare on the internet. Well, in the end, feel free to correct my language or my horizon – though I sometimes get all artsy and shoot diagonally on purpose 😮 – and I promise I won’t stop speaking to you 😉

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          1. 😊
            That thing about ‘helpful criticism’ … I find the only time it’s okay, is when the person in question asked for critique.

            I think I was in for some bad luck when I started out with photo — there were some very, snotty elements in that group.

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  2. We are quite alike. I am a massive control freak and pretty hot on rules of grammar and punctuation. However, blogging is an area of communication where I allow myself to just “type it out” without getting blocked by consideration to that degree of quality control. I started out proofreading every single blog post but it was sucking the joy out of it and also removing some of the immediacy and personal character from my writing so I decided to just go with the flow and be less rigid and uptight about it. I tend to draft and redraft posts that are more personally revealing or directly opinionated but otherwise I just type and publish. It probably shows. However, blogging is currently my only outlet for creative writing so I don’t mind.

    PS What mark do you use for Stet? Or do you write the word “stet”? I know some do a full underline and some do a dashed underline. I think I used dashed but honestly cannot remember for sure.

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    1. What you’re describing are my sentiments exactly! I use my blog for experimenting, for which there is no proper place in my usual formal writing. It’s nice sometimes to be able to test the language and see where you can push it, even to write without obsessing about mistakes. Of course, in retrospect I see how I could improve my old posts, but it makes no sense to do it, unless as an editing exercise. Often my most favourite posts by other bloggers are those that are most spontaneous, even an occasional typo is ok.

      I hardly ever do hard copy proofs, and when I do, I rarely use any advanced proofreading marks because I seem to work with people who have no clue about what they mean. I remember I used stet once or twice, and I spelled the word out. My usual proofreading routine involves editing a Word document while having the tracking changes function on.

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  3. I think every blogger has those times, I know I do, when you think you’ve written something noteworthy and no one reads or comments on it and the next day you write what you consider crap and people line up to tell you how good you are…..it is a tad depressing I have to say….but you are right blogs are an immediate thing. Sometimes I get surprised when I find someone has gone back into my blog and commented on something a year or so old. But it is about becoming relaxed in what you do and accepting, as I have to do, that I make errros and miskakes….

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    1. True, it’s so nice when you find that someone reads and comments on one of your older posts! That’s the good thing, that even the old posts can potentially be discovered and read. You’re right, of course, that one just needs to accept mistakes because they are inevitable. No point obsessing about them excessively.

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    1. Exactly. No point publishing anything at nighttime or the weekend because no one is online. Even though nighttime and weekend, to some extent, do not occur at the same time at different parts of the world. It’s puzzling. What’s not puzzling, though, is the necessity of a cat to be present for a post to be a success 😉 I always blog about my cat when I want to write a popular post 😮

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      1. The thing that I find fascinating is that according to WP I have over 1000 followers, yet most of my posts attract about 50 likes on average. Puzzling 😀

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        1. Is it puzzling? Sounds good to me, more than good even. Of course that a large proportion of one’s followers on WP is taken up by people who never read your posts. I don’t quite know what the point of following a blog when you don’t intend to follow it is, but I guess there is a hidden reason. Or hidden agenda.

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          1. My best theory is, they follow you, you follow them, the unfollow you and get likes until you work it out and unfollow them back. Or the simply give up posting. Or close their blog. I am followed by ghosts

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          2. Yep. That would be something like this. I don’t care about this kind of games. I keep it simple. I follow what I like and unfollow when I don’t like it anymore. Problem solved.

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