Tag Archives: self editing

I Write, Therefore I Rewrite

When I was a teenager,  words freely flowed onto the page. A columnist and reporter for the county newspaper, I was writing  while other high school kids were  waiting tables and babysitting. I often thought it was strange they paid me to do something I loved, but kept the paychecks anyway.  It kept me full of Mountain Dew and my car full of gas.

When deadline was breathing down his neck, my newspaper editor would stand in front of my desk and slap his ruler on my desk in rhythm to the clattering of my IBM Selectric typewriter.

Mindy at Republican

“Type, Melly, type!” 

When deadline was close, there were no rules. If he didn’t have a story to fill a column, I wrote on demand. He never edited my work. I thought it was because I was so good. I was told later it was because he was a Communications major who didn’t write very well. He hired me because I could. When minimum wage was around $3.00, it was an inexpensive way to cover his lack of ability.

Sometimes he’d pull a page out of my typewriter in the middle of a sentence and run it over to the typesetter.  I’d roll in a fresh piece of paper and continue typing frantically.

As fast as I could type, the typesetter would retype, then hand the printed column to the layout woman.  She’d run it through the wax machine, cut it and  place it on the dummy, while guessing how many more paragraphs I needed to type.

Now much older and much  slower, I have a different understanding of  “good” writing. Nobody is pulling a first draft from my printer and publishing it.

I have learned the  value of rewriting.  At first it was agony.  I pour out my heart in my first draft.   I am inspired as I combine personal experience with a takeaway for the reader. Why isn’t it perfect as it is?

Because it isn’t perfect, that’s why.

Advice about rewriting comes in different story forms.

“Don’t be married to your words.”

“Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.”

Jamboree 230

I walk away for awhile and come back in fresh mode. First I evaluate the work as a whole,  then as individual sentences and finally, as individual words. At the final point, I live and breathe through each word.

How can I say more with less words?  Can I evoke more emotion?  It is in my unique voice? Am I using clichés or my pet words?

Can I  make the reader go AHHHHH! instead of HUHHHH?

Then, I rewrite my rewrites.

The rewrites are then rewritten.

Maybe, just maybe, after many rewrites, I’ll have something worth pulling from the printer.

Making your home sing Mondays

 

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To learn more about rewriting:

Writers on Rewriting

Writing Tips:  Writing is Rewriting

The Editing and Rewriting Process

Rewriting is the Real Work of Writing

FIND Just How to Write That Better

cool tools 008

Do you ever just type and type and type and just feel the words flying off your fingertips? You feel that it is going really well, just as if you were totally inspired and that
you were created to write.

Then, you just sit there and look at that post, the one that you just finished.

It needs just a little correcting, a little editing, a little changing.  That just shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

Except that sometimes, we’re just married to our words. 

We just loveRed heart them and we can’t kill Broken heart them. But, that is just what we have to do.

Inspiration doesn’t guarantee perfection. Inspiration is the passion in the marriage between our heart and words, editing is the marriage counseling. We need both.

Good thing Windows Live Writer has a way that is just going to make your life easier and your writing better. It’s free marriage counseling for your writing.  You’re not using WLW yet? I wrote two blog posts about it, just for you.  Click the link above. Oh,  you like frustration when you blog?  Oh, well, read this anyway.  You can still learn something today as we talk about another Cool Tool.

image

Click on  image then image.

image

See?  Look!

image

image the words that you just love to use the most.  Check out Words and Phrases to Avoid if you can’t see the error of your way yet. There’s even a great reason to not overly use the word was.

image

Just as I thought.  I just use that word too much.

See that little blue box around one of my justs?  Remember that the cute little dialogue box had a image button? 

 

Click on it to shoot that blue box from JUST to JUST and you can just delete or substitute the words.

 

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Doesn’t that just stink? You can just check for other words that you use too much, while you’re at it.

 

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If you aren’t using Windows Live Writer to blog yet,  drop your text into a Word document and use the same functionality.  Click on image then look on the far right.

image Christian clichés you use too often or use to express a vague reaction instead of a definite action. I recently wrote an article and discovered with my handy-dandy search I’d used the same word four times in a section.  OOPS! I wasn’t saying it strong enough the first time.

it was encouraging 

I was moved

blessed me

The sermon was so encouraging, it just blessed me.

Instead of speaking Christianese, get to the heart of the matter.  How did what you hear change you?  Did it cause you to act?  Were you convicted? Don’t tell us you looked in the mirror and walked away.  Tell us what you saw in the mirror and what you did  about it when you walked away.

image words you tend to use incorrectly.  I forget to put the capital “P” in the middle of WordPress.  In one of my tutorials I called a product Microsoft Live Writer instead of Windows Live Writer.  Easy to find, easy to fix.

image adverbs by typing “ly” into the dialogue box and choosing “Match case.”  It’s commonly taught to seriously avoid using adverbs. Another instructed when to use them.

 

It’s the difference between my husband and my daughter pounding in a ten penny nail. My husband squarely hits the nail on the head with three strokes and imbeds the nail in the wood.  My daughter taps, taps, taps, taps.  She bends the nail. She straightens the nail.  She taps, taps, taps and taps some more.  Eventually, the nail is in the wood.  It ain’t pretty, but it’s done. We should write the way a strong man pounds nails.

 

image

 

image helps you write with clarity and confidence.

What  words or phrases do you overuse?  Do you have any other writing problems  image could help fix?  Please share your personal example in the comments.  Just please  don’t use that word just too much, that would just drive me crazy.