This is a guest post by Shelley M. DuPont. If you want to write for Daily Writing Tips check the guidelines here.
Every time I write, I discover something more about myself. I don’t always see it immediately; but I begin to notice a pattern developing. Recently, I wrote a feature article and realized that I overuse the word “that”. Grammatically, it was not wrong; it was just too much. It visually detracted from the overall appearance of the piece. Maybe no one else would have noticed, but it bothered me. Every “that” was like an unsightly wad of gum stuck under a desk. I couldn’t wait to pry them out. The next thing I became aware of was a tendency to edit my work as I write. This should be a separate process, and I really have to fight against doing it. It’s almost like a default mode that subconsciously takes over as I write. As you can see, we all struggle with the writing process. It reveals more than we realize. To strengthen the weak spots, here are some things that may be of help to you.
- Avoid editing as you write-it slows down the writing process
- Read your piece out loud-you will hear your mistakes before you will see them
- Have someone read it back to you – you will better determine if you clearly communicated your thought
- Vary your sentence structure-avoid starting every sentence with a subject, turn some sentences into questions, use introductory clauses
- Simplify-delete unnecessary words and phrases, avoid repetition
I’ve always told my students that writing is like an art form. It is the true you being unveiled. It cannot be completed in one sitting. You build it, tear it down, add more, take away, and rebuild. One day you may like it, the next you may not. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day.” Take your time, be thorough, have someone help you, and don’t be afraid to throw your words away. Those that matter will stand.
You can read more from Shelley on WriteSideUp.org.