Self-improvement for the writer

Improve! Speak for yourself, someone says! Yes, I aim to, maybe you will, too. We’re all trying…Take the opportunity to improve your work by looking at your old articles, stories, and seeing if anything could do with a tweak or major revision. Any things you learn in your revising will spill into your current work and only improve it–and at a quicker speed.

Editing to personal satisfaction

Whatever you do do it well-

Walt Disney

I’d like to avoid the difficult editing stages of polishing a piece of writing, so I may delay doing it, even so ending up having to do it, because I just gotta. It is thinking about what I want out of the piece that motivates me to “rise up” mentally and take the bull to the horns as they say. Without a good polish, I am left with regret and sorrow over a piece that could have been so much better with a polish. Then, there’s someone saying, “it’s all good” which makes me feel better, but not reassured. To be reassured is knowing that the piece is good in my own mind–but thanks for the encouragement, very much. Keep on polishing until satisfied.

Introspective writer’s moments

They tell you to never look back. It just stifles the present. In writing, it makes one think of the negative points of one’s writing. I wish I had done it better one moans. However, I do not mind looking back at what I have written in the past if just for the curiosity of rediscovering how my older work sounded.

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Small touches matter: the edit that counts

Do small touches make the difference to an article? Like a slight tweak, a slight delete, a shortening, a change of word? Emphatically, yes! But it depends. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter, but other times, it may sort out the clutter and expression, say, into something more readable, exciting, or colorful.

Editing SOS

Ever thought an article of yours that was published sounded uneven? Like some parts could have been better, but other parts were good. But in the end it sort of comes out in the wash and the effect of the article actually says something well. That’s a bit of a strange working, if I may say so. That’s how writing can go, for one reason or another. The writer, on a reasonably off day, may not be 100 percent “on the ball” but gets it right in how it all jells together. Uncanny. Maybe the writer was so enthusiastic in writing the article, and side stepped thinking it through, as it appeared to sound okay as is. With the published article, the blemishes showed through a little (at least according to the writer), yet the article still works (according to the writer, again)!

Thoughtfully approaching a piece if it’s cluttered

It’s a problem that I have been overcoming. With some of my work, a problem when I’m writing is saying so much that some paragraphs become cluttered or not saying enough when a thought should be expanded so as to provide the meaning. But I had to be more thoughtful about these difficulties. I somehow conquered this by getting everything in my head down on paper. And with a certain amount of editing, say it in such a way, that it’s clear. Being more thoughtful in other words.

Difficulties in writing can pass, but one must be aware of them first, for without awareness, then there is no rectifying.

So, I tried to sort it out with those pieces that on second reading sounded a little underdone or overdone.

Fancy editing

This week I’ve been turning paragraphs around in terms of their arrangement within the paragraph. But what about swapping two paragraphs around, so that the bottom paragraph goes at the top and the top paragraph goes to the bottom. As there are only two paragraphs in this piece this wasn’t a case of plowing through many paragraphs to see if swapping top to bottom wouldn’t make cohesive sense. Even so I risked the possibility of losing the sense of this two paragraph piece. But it sounded better when I swapped them.

Binning one’s work may be premature

Once this week I thought: I’m still ruthlessly deciding on what devotional ideas to use or not to use. If any are worth writing up formally, so I can relax by writing less.

But the material’s mostly gone –been rubbished, binned and formally incinerated. Remnants, though, survive. Even those I thought I could recycle in another form are mostly gone. But as I say, some survived the burning process. And one has an eye on better devotions for the future.

Marketing one’s work alone

Writers on their own, with a book in hand, may need an agent or representative, because agents are closer to the publishers. Agents are also good because they save the writer having to concentrate on marketing work as well as writing it.

One can go it alone in the grand scheme of choices a writer has in getting their work published. Send an email. Try and meet the publisher, even if out of town. This is the hard work of marketing one’s work alone. Some go out to the workforce and work as a writer, full-time. They are in the job as it was.

When ideas are too many to handle

The opposite of the problem of writers block is too much writing. There are lots of ideas and written passages on my notebook and computer and I think I am under an obligation to use them all, which feels oppressive. Then comes liberating the notebook/s, by eliminating useless ideas. But, who knows, in years to come, they be viewed better. So, it’s probably a good idea to keep them and not worry about the clutter for a while.

To revise or not to revise

Writing is a catch-22, but I’m not talking ’bout the film or novel on which a film is based. Catch-22 is a novel and a film, but let me use that title’s meaning for the purposes of this post. Saying catch-22 is synonymous with making a choice between two equal values and one or the other won’t really do considering that you’re in a predicament between the two. So, writing is a catch-22 in that sense or something like it. I mean that one may write a piece. The writer thinks he should revise it out of the normal process, and also thinks it’s probably good as it is and doesn’t need revising. What does the writer do? This is my predicament at the moment. I would say to myself, just wait. Let the piece smolder under the surface for a while until it’s ready to resurface and face the writer once again. Then, all becomes clear.