Today, a knot twists in my gut. I’m afraid to publish a post. What could I possibly have to say that’s not already been said? Then I realize I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid that someone will laugh at my mistakes. I’m afraid my writing sucks. But if I follow some basic rules of writing, I can’t possibly fail. So I’m plunging in head first. Ah. The knot loosens and I’m free to write.
Make Your Writing Zing
- Did I capture my reader’s attention in the first sentence? An eerie sensation slithered up my spine. If I lose you at this stage, what’s the point of writing? I’m wasting my time and yours.
- Did I write so that everything is clearly understood? Use the first word that pops into your brain. I like the word eerie. I could have said an odd sensation. On your first draft, write what comes naturally. Avoid using a thesaurus, instead read more. Avoid clichés.
- Did I use a short, clear sentence? Hinges creaked. The goal is to show not tell.
- Did I write in an active voice? Nicole’s bottom lip began to quiver. No, I didn’t. Instead I wrote Nicole’s bottom lip quivered.
- Did I use a strong verb? She did the crime so she could pay for the jewellery. This is weak. So I tried, she robbed Mom to splurge on jewellery. Ah, much stronger. Sorry Mom.
- Did I check for spelling erors? Oops, errors. Don’t rely on spellcheck. It’s best to reread from the end to the beginning.
- If in doubt, leave it out. If something doesn’t sound right, it’s probably wrong.
- Don’t fall in love with your sentences. Stephen King says, “Go on, be brave and kill your darlings now.”
- Just when you think you’re ready to send out your writing. Stop. Read it aloud one more time. You’ll be sure to spot a glaring mistake.
Dare to Dream Large