Curation Corner: Writing With Continual Direction

magnifying glass held over printed textThis quote from William Zinsser [On Writing Well is his best-known work.] takes an opposite tack to yesterday’s Writing With No Direction post.

Writing is linear and sequential; Sentence B must follow Sentence A, and Sentence C must follow Sentence B, and eventually you get to Sentence Z. The hard part of writing isn’t the writing; it’s the thinking. You can solve most of your writing problems if you stop after every sentence and ask: What does the reader need to know next?

WILLIAM ZINSSER

Curated from my daily email from Jon Winokur’s  https://advicetowriters.com/

Curation Corner: And then there’s this on revising…

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

The ordinary writer is bound to be assailed by insecurities as he writes. Is the sentence he has just created a sensible one? Is it expressed as well as it might be? Would it sound better if it were written differently? The ordinary writer is therefore always revising, always chopping and changing, always trying on different ways of expressing himself, and, for all I know, never being entirely satisfied.
–ISAAC ASIMOV

from Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers


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Curation Corner: The Traffic Light Revision Technique

It’s easy to urge each other to crank out ideas and imagery.
Countless articles and posts urge us to dive in and heat up that pen or keyboard.
But what about those next steps, where the real work kicks in?
Copyblogger editor-in-chief Stefanie Flaxman’s Traffic Light Revision Technique weaves much-needed, but often elusive, objectivity into her approach to revision/editing.

Let’s boil it down:

  1. Read over your material in a word processing document. [‘Document 1’] Color-code your sentences–green for ‘okay with me’, yellow for ‘needs some work’, red for ‘needs complete overhaul’. [Note: Use your own file-naming strategies.]
  2. Save ‘Document 1’, without any further tinkering.
  3. Create a copy of ‘Document 1’ [‘File’, ‘Save as…’], complete with the colored highlights. Name it ‘Document 2’.
  4. Edit Document 2, recoloring your sentences green when satisfied with the work they’re doing.
  5. Proofread your work [aloud is always a good idea] with the following question as your beacon:

“Do these words clearly communicate my true intent
and give my audience a cohesive presentation?”

There you go! You can now send your work on to the Pulitzer Prize committee.

Suggestion: Schedule a 15-minute visit to Copyblogger.You’re sure to leave with useful, shareable content.


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Curation Corner: Writers, don’t panic!

girl hugging bear gratisography-401H

I recently signed up for daily delivery of Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers, so I’m essentially curating his own curation. Today’s advice comes from Australian writer [and then some] Clive James

“The only thing I’ve got better at as the years have gone by is I’ve grown more resigned to the fact that it comes hard. You realize that hesitation and frustration and waiting are part of the process, and you don’t panic. I get a lot better at not panicking. I get up every morning early if it’s a writing day and I will do nothing else but write that day. But the secret is not to panic if it doesn’t come.”

And whoa, what a wealth of resources you will find at advicetowriters.com.

and much more under the ‘Resources’ tab.

Enjoy.

Chime in below with your own favorite writing website.

 

An Austin Kleon writing strategy: Keep dumb thoughts.

Austin Kleon encourages us to be attentive and diligent in writing down all our thoughts and sift through them for later exploration.

How about ratcheting up your powers of attentiveness?

Here are a few ideas from Cris Freese in this Writer’s Digest article.

Reminder: Simply restricting one or more of the five senses will heighten the others. [Try closing your eyes while eating. You will most likely hear your chewing more distinctly and I’ve found more flavors are pronounced. But hey, maybe that’s just me. But really, try it.]

Curation Corner: Don’t Delete!

I appreciated Mary Gaitskill’s wisdom in this item I gleaned from advicetowriters.com

Here’s an excerpt from the excerpt:

When you’re writing on the computer, you don’t cross it out, you just delete it. But now, if I’m not sure, I don’t delete it. Instead of making the revision, I just put it in a bracket and write my second idea, and I can look back and see which I think was better, because sometimes the first thing is actually better.

Writing advice from Lydia Davis

lydia davis writing tips word cloud
These are my main takeaways from her extensive list.

Adapted from the essay “Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits” in Essays One by Lydia Davis…

Thank you to lithub.com for this list… 


Have a great weekend, readers. Me? Along with digital projects, I’ll be procrastinating in the kitchen…caramel-pecan-cranberry-apple pie is on the menu, as well as my first attempt at a kringle.

 

 

Overwhelmed at the thought of writing?

Fast Company’s Art Markman has four suggestions:

  1. Break it down

  2. Make an outline

  3. Just get something down

  4. Write for five more minutes


If the list doesn’t tell you enough [and it doesn’t], here is the fleshed out version.

And I would add another suggestion.

Bake…[no, it doesn’t necessarily help you generate a bestseller, but it’s great for an afternoon coffee and who knows, the caramel experiment might just pay off in a fun blog post.]

two banana breads side-by-side
I added an amaretto caramel to the banana bread on the left. I added an Irish cream caramel to the banana bread on the right.