HOW TO PRODUCE BETTER WRITING

Happy-New-Year-Cards-2015-06

Yay, it’s 2015! Let’s begin on a positive note.

Writing is not hard; at least, not as hard as any other job on earth. But from my experience as an editor, the problem most people have is having something worth saying.

Excluding the 1% who have a freakish knack for storytelling, wordplay, or humor, the rest of us writers have to rely on the one dependable and common human trait – we all have a unique perspective and perception of different subject matter and events.

The challenge therefore isn’t so much writing as it is, thinking and being able to sort through our heads and unclutter our own ideas.

It’s not strange for me in a day, that I’ll come across a piece of writing in which two or more ideas are floating around without ever jelling together. That’s called clutter.

Sometimes, the author has unique and fresh ideas but the execution is askew. He/she starts writing about one thing, veers off into another idea, perambulates around another totally different one and so on; and what’s the point of having great ideas when your readers don’t get to see and experience the ingenuity of those ideas. You may argue that that’s my job, fine-tuning and helping the genius of the writer to shine through, but an editor can only do so much for an author’s work.

The creative process can be a beast. Writers sometimes start off writing one thing and discover somewhere along the line that they really want to talk about something else. No biggie. Writing can be therapeutic. It’s a great way to sort through your thoughts.

However, is if you want someone else to read your work and you consider yourself a professional of some capacity, you have to do what they call a rewrite. You rewrite and refine the work until it’s as polished and as sculpted as can be.

This is a particularly good idea because as an editor, when your writing comes to my desk, I don’t want to be confused about what exactly you’re trying to say.

My advice?

Get ONE thing you want to talk about. Speaking out loud helps. Imagine talking to your best friend about it.

Talk about it. Say everything you have to say about it. Rambling is allowed. Strap the internal editor to a wheelchair.

Go back and remove everything that isn’t essential to the ONE thing you wanted to say. [Kill your darlings or move them into the “other articles” box]

For example, the ONE thing I want you to take away from this post is that, writing isn’t necessarily hard; the hard thing is sorting through your thoughts.

I think I did just that.

Happy New Year.

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