The #1 thing I’ve learned about writing for a living

I use Grammarly for proofreading because no matter how carefully I go over my text, gremlins come along and cause typos.

The one thing I have learned about writing for a living that is most crucial is that it does not matter how fascinating your subject matter may be, one typo can cause you to lose all credibility. It does not seem fair but it is so.

It is almost impossible to proofread your own material. Your brain will see what you think you wrote and not what is actually on the page. You have to read it more than once and scrutinize each word. Then read it out loud to see how it sounds. Then go over it again.

A better method is to have someone else read it and look for errors, preferably someone trained to do so.

Software like Grammarly that looks for errors for you can be a huge help in finding things that you may have overlooked.

The important lesson is not to get in such a hurry to share all the fascinating facts you’ve learned or the great plot you’ve created and skip the boring and meticulous work of making sure everything is correct. I’ve done that in the past and it is always a mistake. Take the time. Use the software. Get some more human help. Do whatever it takes to make sure your writing is correct before you post it.

Do you see any errors in this post? Let me know if you do!

Music Review: George Thorogood and The Destroyers – ‘George Thorogood and The Destroyers’ [2013 Reissue]

It seems hard to imagine that George Thorogood and The Destroyers have been around for over 36 years. They were the first hit artists for Rounder Records, who have always been best known for folk, blues, and country, or what is known now as “roots” music.

This year Rounder has rereleased and remastered the two recordings the group made for them, including the eponymous George Thorogood and The Destroyers, first released in 1977. The CD grabs the listener and joyfully rivets the attention now just as it did then…

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Review: Gogo; Bordello Pura Vida Conspiracy

Gogol Bordello is back with its sixth CD, its first in three years. The gypsy punk masters are just as high-energy and over the top as ever, but the familiar band message of tearing down the borders, defying institutions, and embracing personal freedom is even more clear on Pura Vida Conspiracy. gogolbordello

The CD is still non-stop and group leader Eugene Hutz still delivers the lyrics with extreme enthusiasm. There seems to be a bit more structure to the songs than in the past, when the combination of Hutz’s thick accent combined with the frenetic guitars, violins, drums, accordion, and horns could just roll right over the listener and obscure the lyrics entirely…

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Writing reviews

I really wish there were not so many rules at the places I write regularly about not using first person or including personal observations about the products you are reviewing which are usually books or music for me. Those are personal subjects to me and I am usually reading the review looking for a writer with a personal reaction. But somehow it is not considered profesional to say “I”. Whose opinion is the reader supposed to think they are getting?

Music Review: Various Artists – Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition Soundtrack

Dirty Dancing, the movie, is one of those films that people fell in love with 25 years ago and still love today. Most people have probably seen it multiple times, for the classic coming-of-age love story, the incredible dancing, and the fabulous music. The soundtrack was also immensely popular. Dirty Dancing: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition will surely inspire some moves of your own, as well as bring back certain scenes from the film to vivid memory. It’s a great party or barbecue soundtrack too.

In the package, people who were involved in the original songs offer commentary. Eric Carmen, for instance, talks about “Hungry Eyes.” Other producers and artists give background details on “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” (which has to be one of the most appropriate title songs ever for a movie,) Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind,” Merry Clayton’s “Yes,” Tom Johnston’s “Where Are You Tonight?” and Alfie Zappacosta’s “Overload.”

Another amazing thing about the music of Dirty Dancing is the way the classic songs like “Stay” by Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs and Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love Is Strange” fit into the movie, not only into the dance routines but into the story. These songs were hits before Dirty Dancing and they still have the same emotional impact today.

“Be My Baby,” “Hey Baby,” and “In the Still of the Night” also reflect the unfolding love story between Johnny and Baby.

Aside from the commentary about the songs, the booklet included in the package also has many photos from the movie and a dedication to Swayze (who passed away in 2009 at age 57 from pancreatic cancer). There are also six gorgeous photos suitable for framing. Fans voted for the image on the cover from four possible choices, and chose to retain the original “Lift” image.

This CD edition would make a wonderful present for yourself or any Dirty Dancing fan. It is a delightful way to commemorate Swayze and the rest of the cast, the movie, and the music. Get it now, and get ready to listen, dance, and remember!

This review was first published on Blogcritics at