Heading Off to Work

Be Correct

IMG_4860-1

Okay by this point, you should have written something…anything…

You should also have resources at your disposal about the writing process from so-called “experts.”

Now comes what I actually find to be both the most rewarding and the most challenging part of the writing process—editing what you have written.

 

The amount of editing and revision that you will want to do on whatever you have written will obviously depend on what you have written and who will see what you have written.

But I have learned to look at the revision and editing process much like the zoom-in function on Mapquest…first look at the overall picture, and then zoom into different lenses as needed.

 

So let’s being with the 100% zoom-in lens…

Print out a hard copy of what you have written, and then approach the article as if you were either a reader reading this article for the very first time or a teacher grading a student’s work, not the person who has actually written it.

It is also a good idea to take the time to read the paper out loud, checking for run-on sentences, awkward pauses and transitions, unclear ideas, and other small grammatical and organization issues.

Another good idea would be to have someone else read what you have written and offer feedback. A new reader will be able to help you catch mistakes that you might have overlooked…

Examine the entire article that you have written, asking yourself “big questions” such as…

  • Am I writing this from the right point of view?
  • Am I writing this with the right tone of voice?
  • Do all of the ideas in the article make sense?
  • Do any sections or sentences need to be explained further?
  • Does the article have a specific purpose?
  • Does the article accomplish its intended purpose?
  • Have you made your best points obviously stand out?
  • Is any additional information needed?
  • Is it appropriate for my target audiences?
  • Is it clear?
  • Is it organized?
  • Is there any irrelevant information that should be deleted?
  • What is my “bottom line”?
  • What would you say is the most successful part of your article? Why?

The final step at this 100% level is to make sure that you are completely satisfied with your conclusion.

 

Now zoom down to the 75% Level and examine your paragraphs…

  • Are my paragraphs in the right order?
  • Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence?
  • Does each paragraph have enough evidence to support this topic?
  • Should any of my paragraphs be eliminated completely?

 

Then zoom down to the 50% level and examine your sentences…

  • Do all of my sentences actually make sense?
  • Do all of my sentences move easily from one sentence to the next?
  • Do all of my sentences start with short, simple words and phrases?
  • Do any of my sentences have introductory clauses that are too long?
  • Do any of my sentences seem out of context?

 

…and the 25% Level to look at the specific words…

  • Are any of the words I have used simply “extra” words that I can delete?
  • Are any of the words I have used too vague?
  • Are any of the words I have used actually misused?

 

…and finally the 10% level to look at nitty-gritty details.

  • Commas—Make sure that any sentences with two main clauses are connected with a comma and a conjunction, separated with a semicolon, or rewritten as two sentences.
  • Omitted or repeated words—Read the paper aloud slowly to make sure you haven’t missed or repeated any words.
  • Parallelism-Look through your paper for series of items and make sure these items are in parallel form.
  • Pronouns—Stop at each pronoun. Look for the noun that the pronoun replaces. If you can’t find the noun, insert a noun earlier in the writing or change the pronoun to a noun. If you do find a noun, make sure the noun and pronoun agree in both number and person.
  • Sentence Fragments—Make sure each sentence has a subject and a complete verb. Use “helping verbs” if you need to. Make sure that dependent clauses are not written as complete sentences.
  • Spelling—Move a pencil under each line of text to help you to see each word individually. Do not simply assume that using spell-check will automatically fix every misspelled or misused word in the paper.There is no shame in actually checking with a dictionary.
  • Subject/Verb Agreement—Find the subject and verb that goes with the subject in each sentence. Make sure that if the subject is plural, the verb is also plural.

 

Obviously there’s no reason to edit every single thing that you write to this extreme, but being the obsessive-compulsive person that I am, I have found that having a series of questions like this helps my ADHD brain to stay focused as I read something that I have already written and read too many times to count already.

Advertisements
Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Committed

IMG_4860-1

Be diligent about starting your new habit…Make a point of adding this new habit—whether it be exercising, eating better, or writing or whatever else it may be, for just one day at a time, even if only for a little bit of time.

 

Eventually you’ll find yourself not even thinking about that new, or old, habit…and actually miss doing this on the days when you don’t.

 

 

In my attempt to include writing as part of my daily routine, it was first of all…to state the obvious…important that I actually did write!!!

 

And along my journey this year to adopt writing as a part of my daily routine, I have found the following resources that have hopefully helped me improve my writing skills, think more clearly, and be more organized altogether.

Some of these websites that have helped me along my journey this last year as a writer have included…

1. 750 Words The primary goal of this website is to get writers into the daily habit of writing.every day. This site gives writers the opportunity to write Morning Pages, three pages of writing done every day about anything and everything that pops into mind. ..a concept that originated with the book The Artist’s Way, first published in…

Writing Morning Pages helps clear your mind and gets the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.

According to the website, the standard accepted number of words per page is 250 words…making three pages about 750 words.

This site tracks your word count at all times, lets you know when you’ve passed the 750 mar, awards points based on your writing, allows you to compare your points with the other 300,000-plus members, and gives you an analysis of the feelings, themes, and mindset of your words each day.


2. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) was founded in 1967 as a nonprofit organization created to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, encourage and advocate for new writing programs, and provide publishing opportunities for young writers.

Their website includes an extensive database of literary programs, grants, awards, contests, publication opportunities, and conferences throughout North America.

The AWP Conference and Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America and features over 2,000 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. Each year conference attracts more than 12,000 attendee and 800 exhibitors.

The first conference was held in 1973 at the Library of Congress, with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. The next conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from February 8–11, 2017.

The Writer’s Chronicle, a magazine published six times a year, has been an important asset to writers for the last forty years. The magazine features in-depth essays on the craft of writing; a listing of grants, awards, publication opportunities available to writers; a list of upcoming conferences for writers; exclusive interviews with accomplished authors, and news on publishing trends.

Each year AWP sponsors six contests…

  1. AWP Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works.
  2. Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $5,500 and publication.
  3. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
  4. The AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction
  5. The AWP Prize for the Novels
  6.  The AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature


3.  The Authors’ Nook is a blog written by Ben Schmitt—a blogger, copywriter, and screenwriter—that offers great writing advice with a dose of humour.


4.  Backspace is an online writers organization with over 1,800 members, including several dozen New York Times bestselling authors,cthat seeks to help writers help other writers through discussion forums, an online guest speaker program, question and answer sessions, articles from publishing experts, and actual conferences and events. Backspace was included in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s ‘101 Best Websites for Writers’ list from 2005 to 2012.


5.  The Blog Starter is a website run by Scott Chow that shares his knowledge from twenty years of experience starting blogs and websites. his ambition is to show other people exactly how to start their own successful blogs.


6.  The Crafty Writer offers a free online, self-paced creative writing course that consists of eight sessions…

  • Releasing your Creativity
  • How to write a short story
  • Writing from a point of view (POV)
  • Bringing your writing to life
  • Writing characters
  • Writing dialogue
  • Poetry: how to write poems
  • Markets, competitions and opportunities


7.  Daily Writing Tips delivers a daily article to your inbox or RSS reader…about topics including grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and vocabulary..


8.  Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that helps users find and correct writing mistakes.

Grammarly provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of text that you copy and paste into their online text editor.
After checking for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, Grammarly flags these errors, suggests corrections, and explains the reasoning behind each correction.

The Grammarly website also offers…

  • Access to the Grammarly Facebook community and Twitter accounts
  • Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to ask and answer questions on English writing
  • Grammarly Handbook, an online guide explaining English grammar and style
  • Grammarly Words, an online dictionary-thesaurus hybrid
  • The Grammarly Blog full of fun grammar tips and discussions


9.  inkPageant is a database and search engine for blogs and blog posts related to writing. The site strives to help writers improve their writing skills and reach their goals…by gathering the stories of the experiences of other authors and advice given on their own blogs.

10.  Positive Writer encourages writers to stay positive during those days of writer’s block, self-doubt, rejection, waiting, and disappointment.

This award-winning, highly acclaimed website was created by Bryan Hutchinson—a writer whose work has been published in newspapers, national magazines, books, and on world famous blogs.

Articles can be found on this site that to encourage, inspire, motivate, and advise writers…such as this article,  39 Great Books on Writing.