I’m not sure if you’ve noticed. My grammar isn’t perfect in my writing. Sometimes I use an apostrophe after a possessive “its” or (gasp) type out the dreaded “your” when I mean “you’re”. I also frequently confuse my laids and lays and lies.
These kind of grammar mistakes used to keep me from sharing my work. As a writer and a former Journalism student, coming up against a grammar nazi punching holes in my work due to sloppy mistakes such as these was humiliating.
But the truth is, when I’m inspired, when I’m typing a mile a minute, when the words are spilling from my fingers to the page, sloppy grammar, typos and even incorrect use of “your” are hardly relevant.
A writer told me she was afraid to share her work because “she didn’t know grammar”. Now, that’s just not true. While grammar has all kinds of fancy words attached to it that we forgot after 8th grade English class, we use grammar every day to speak.
Blaine had turned on the oven the night before, but now he realized it was broken.
Past perfect participle and past progressive participle anyone?
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t edit your work and you shouldn’t re-familiarize yourself with rules and formats that you are unsure of. I, for example, use to structure dialogue incorrectly. But I never would have realized this if I hadn’t put my work up for review and, the thing is, that the other writers who noted it (only about 1 in 7 I would say) just noted it in passing. They didn’t point and laugh and suggest I couldn’t be a writer.
Because it’s just grammar. If you accidentally replace a flat top screw with a round top screw while you’re building a table, you’ll still have a table and if you know your shit, it will probably be a really nice table.
If you mess up your possessive structuring or your comma usage, you can still have an amazing story. It is the content that matter.
Everything else is just hardware. Using the right stuff is important and it will make your job easier, but in a pinch, use what you have available and you can fix it later.