Elements of Style Besotted Blog

One of the goals I have this year is to work on my poor grammar.  I am very insecure about it and it’s a wonder I ever get a blog post up.  Putting my foibles out there is not my usual modus operandi. The problem I most run into with learning grammar is that it is a bore; granted I often find I get bored when I am having difficulty learning a subject. On the flipside of that coin, I believe with the right teacher or materials you can learn anything. Since I have decided to work on my grammar I thought I should just really bone up on my writing skills in general. I have some resources for you if you wanted to do so too. The above book, The Elements of Style is a classic, with the addition of Maira Kalman’s charming illustrations you will want to keep it on your desk, which I highly suggest for both aesthetics and reference ease. Roy Peter Clark a professor at The Poytner School of Journalism wrote a book aptly named-Writing Tools that looked interesting . I considered it for my Kindle, then I found out that it was available as a free podcast, read by Mr. Clark, each lesson is broken up into bite-sized pieces (think 1-2 minutes) and goes over 50 writing strategies. I had a lot of ‘aha’ moments during the listen and can’t recommend it enough. There’s Grammar girl which I wish I enjoyed more, but I don’t, a lot of people do so I thought she would be worth a mention. If you prefer a little more structure Media Bistro (a community for media professionals) offers on-line writing classes (and a grammar too). I have always wanted to take a class there, but it is a little spendy for me.  And for those that mentioned they would want to write a book if they knew they would not fail, I thought I would share this nugget-If you write one page a day, every day from today for the rest of the year you will have nearly 300 pages completed at the end of the year, that’s plenty for a book!

If you have any other suggestions for me–classes, books, tips + tricks please feel free to leave them in the comments. If there are grammatical errors on this site that are making you want to gouge your eyeballs out, please email me and I will try to rectify immediately (I do know there are plenty) and I wouldn’t want you to cause bodily harm to yourself on my account.

And…speaking of resources I spent an awful lot of time over the weekend updating The Directory, take a peek and let me know if you have anything to add, a subject you want covered or if you think your company/business should be included. Please keep in mind the directory is a creative resource so please keep your suggestions relevant.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.


  1. Hi Miss TB
    Love your blog, it has a lovely sense of purpose whereas mine is just soo random. Thank you for the recommendations for writing better English. I will definitely have a look. As an English teacher and parent of a copy editor I was wondering about whether your last sentence should end with ‘relevant’ – the last two words seem a bit clumsy. I love the way language is dynamic though and apart from obvious howlers we should be inclusive. You write beautifully.
    Happy Tuesday

    • Thank you SO much Jacqui for both the sweet note and the tip! I will re-work that sentence;) I will have some blog tips coming up, not that I am an expert, but I do have some experience!

  2. I know that putting yourself out here could make you feel a little insecure. But…I work at a high school and my first job here was to type counselor reference letters to colleges. I used to try to tweak when needed but at one point realized one of our most wonderful counselors wrote in her voice. Her style was hers alone and the letter just sounded better when it was left basically to itself. Now misspelling is, of course, not allowed but I think you should sound like you….not a perfectly edited piece. It is your voice! I have never been offended by any grammar issues because like most of us, I can’t write perfectly either. Just tell us your stories and don’t worry about the little things. But thank you for the recommendations, cause sometimes….it really does matter!!

    • Tristan B. says:

      Debe you are very kind and I appreciate the encouragement. It’s important to me to feel like I have a little more of a handle on this grammar thing. I have had vicious emails berating me (I can almost visualize them pulling out there hair). Grammar incites passion in people, I get it, if I am going to claim to be a lover of language I need to get behind using it to the best of my abilities and I am so co-dependent that I don’t want any more of those email;)

  3. joanne rose says:

    I love learning about grammar! I love how knowing the rules also makes me more relaxed about breaking them when I feel like breaking them.

    I’d like to pass this little book on to you. I find it’s one of the first books I check when I have a question because it is well organized, concise, and also entertaining.

    • Joanne Rose, thank you! I love the name of the book and I thing ‘grammarphobe’ is an apt description for me, lol.

  4. Thank you for updating your directory Tristan! It’s such a wonderful resource, …what great discoveries I’m making!

    • Thank you Catherine! I think it’s growing so fast that I may have to figure out another solution soon. It was a crash course in html and I am trying hard not to take the site down whenever I add to it:)

  5. Bravo to you for putting on your big girl pants and being open and willing to suggestions and correction. Whether bloggers want to believe it or not, their use of grammar and the correct spelling of words reflects directly on the validity of what they write and how it’s perceived. I’m not someone who pulls my hair out over it, I’m a former editor, life’s too short for that, but when I have sent someone a correction, and, I always do it via their email, I seldom receive a response and the error goes uncorrected.
    I’m a relative newcomer to your blog and truly enjoy your mix of commentary and craft. Keep it up!

    • Really? I LOVE getting the emails with corrections. I am so appreciative that someone would be willing to take the time and email me, most of the emails are written with kindness. I do get nervous when they are so irate, but I understand that people are passionate about writing, especially if it’s their craft and someone is completely disregarding it. I know I won’t read a blog if it is in all lowercase. As a designer I can appreciate the idea that it may seem aesthetically pleasing, but it makes me want to bang my head on my desk. All lowercase can be a design detail in a graphic but it drives me nuts in a post.

  6. My day job is copy editing in the health and sciences realm, and trust me, your writing is head and shoulders above most of theirs. One resource you might find useful is Grammar Girl. Her website is entertaining and easy to use.

    • Thank you Kate! I have tried her a couple times, but will give it a try again. So these are writers that you are editing? People that get paid to write for a living? Or are these doctors + scientists?

    • I usually edit for doctors, nursing Ph.D students, and scientists. Many of them are very talented in their respective fields, but they count on outside support when it comes to writing :)

  7. What a beautiful edition of _The Elements of Style_! I am purchasing a copy right this minute. I am a bit of a grammar nerd, too; I think gerunds and appositives and sentence diagramming are all a whole lot of fun. But I think what’s most beautiful and inspirational about this post is the desire and openness to learn. It’s hard, I think, to accept that even as adults, we all still have so much learning to do — about whatever that is in our own lives. Learning can be such difficult work. On my list: CSS, a more technical understanding of photography, more familiarity and fluency with Photoshop and Illustrator. And always more about calligraphy. It’s a long and daunting list, and it sometimes makes me want to throw up my hands in despair. But then I remember that discovery is so much fun, if also an often frustrating and humbling process. You have a great blog that I love reading. You’re doing a beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring work, from photography to writing to site design to providing resources… and I imagine that your openness to learning is all part and parcel of your ability to share that with us. Thank you!

    • Laura you won’t be sorry it is even better in person, really beautiful color + the pages are high quality too AND it’s what all the editors use;) I know what you mean about learning, I think it’s a a great way to keep life exciting, it would be so boring to be stagnate, right? If you want to take a great CSS class, Pugly Pixel has an affordable + well produced one call CSS Pretty, I learned so much in that class. Nicole’s Classes (if you sign-up for their newsletter the often will feature a deep discount on their classes) and they have online Photography, Photoshop and Illustrator. The Illustrator classes by Alma Loveland are excellent. Thank you for both the visit and the kind words!!!


  1. […] is Bird by Bird, by Anne Lammott. And one of my daily reads just posted some helpful writing resources, and I’ll definitely be checking those […]

  2. […] my posts multiple times, I know grammar is not my forte (something I hope to rectify; I suggest this book) but I do try to check and re-check spelling mistakes. You don’t need to be verbose, […]

Leave a reply


Blog by Hello Monday Creative