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Gen Y And The Changing Tides Of The Writing Culture

Updated on May 15, 2011

We Must Be Correct!

Many writers have spent years upon years developing their writing skills. Spending loads of time considering the correct verbs, nouns and adjectives to be used. Double checking their spelling with dictionaries and spell checkers. If you really like to get creative, then you might also enjoy browsing a thesaurus for words that are seldom used. It does give your writing a certain flare.

So why is it, that after so many centuries of correctness, that many writers are breaking down the rules with bad grammar, slang, incorrect terms and all together made up words?

Well, it's because of the culture that has grown to become the now generation of writers, has taken over the literacy seen and are changing the tides once again.. It's a mixture of the later decade of Gen X'ers, a large majority of Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and an early batch of Gen Z. It's a part of the most recent culture war.

As time has shown, culture wars happen at least once in every generation, meaning that they happen at least two or three times in one persons life. This can make things confusing on many levels, especially in terms of reaching out to current readers.

Currently, we have moved out of the time when it was crucial to be politically correct, grammatically correct or even morally correct. The recent generation sees many of those needs as an unnecessary means of conforming to societal rules, which they prefer to avoid.

Confusion in the ranks...

Now, because there are still many baby boomers and gen x'ers in the current writer-sphere, it has become quite a battle for many to figure out just what has happened. There are still many writing circles where specifically correct grammar is mandatory and other circles where it's highly pedantic.

As the tides continue to change, we are seeing it become much more regular for authors to develop a more natural writing voice and avoid worrying about correctness or skill.

There are many good reasons for this - first being that many current readers find it a big turn off to read from an author who is continually worried about their grammar or spelling. It's much more of a personal connection when you can read from an author who identifies to your generation. It makes you feel like you know them in a way.

Another reason for this change in writing, is that the development of blogs, tweets and texts have made slang and abbreviations much more common then they used to be. In a blog, hardly anyone worries about being correct and instead they focus on personalizing their writing.

Will it stay this way?

To some extend, I feel the current net culture will forever change the base of our language. However, I don't feel it will always be the same as it is now. Currently, we are still seeing the beginning of literacy changes. As time goes on, what appears to be lazy grammar and incorrect usage of words, will turn into a more defined and developed method. It's hazy right now, and later on it will develop into something much more harmonious.

I can say that it is highly unlikely that we will go back to what once was. So for those of you writers who are hoping for such a thing to happen, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

No, the tide of writing will change again and it will not always be the same as it is now. We will continue to change and develop as time goes on. This is an unraveling generation, where the rules are purposely being broken down. After this, we should see an artistic generation, where some abstract creation will be added, which will be followed by a few generations of those who will seek to add more rules and values to the new form of writing. It will continue this way until another unraveling where the rules will be broken down again.

What's a writer to do?

Because of the change in tides, many writers are unsure of where they should go with their writing.

Should we focus on skill and correct usage? - Since it used to be what counted in a battle of intelligence, and it also helps those who are lacking in literacy, learn to be correct.

Should we throw out the rules and join the current generations? - Especially since it will attract more readers and develop a better connection with them.

Should we use our natural writing voice, regardless of the past, present or future generation of writers?

The truth is that it is a personal choice that every writer has to make. The tides are going to continue to change again and again. So if you decide to stick with the proper or traditional manner, then stick with that. There are many who will highly appreciate the time you take to make sure your writing skills are on par.

It is equally as appreciated if you desire to change with the times, as well as to simply work on your voice and ignore any specific rules. Every piece of the puzzle has it's place and every writer can have their space.

I personally find it more comfortable and effective to go with my natural flow. At times I can be highly articulate, while at other times my voice comes out much more effectively while using slang terms and made up words. I feel it's wise to be educated in the proper use of words, not only so that you can understand and comprehend everything you come upon. Though it isn't necessary to beat yourself up over not having perfect writing skills.


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