Monday, August 10, 2015

Writing Tips or Lack Thereof

CPG asked its authors to submit some writing tips for aspiring authors, and I said I'd be glad to.  Of course, being me, I forgot to submit any. Before you start melting tar and plucking those chickens (to tar and feather me for those of you from a different part of the world), let me explain.

When I'm in the middle of writing something, I get kind of stuck in a Zen mode where all I do is focus on that and nothing else. This is not new. When I was a grant writer, the world might be clamoring at my office door for some crucial item, but I ignored it until finally surfacing from the quagmire of text and thinking, "Yikes, I missed turning in a bunch of stuff." I'm not sure why I get this way, but I'm sure of one thing, it's the only way I can get any writing done.

Okay, now that I've cleared that up, let me provide some helpful writing tips. Hmmm. Let's see. What haven't I talked about yet. Hard to say because unlike those cruelly efficient TWV bloggers that not only create a schedule, they (horror of all horrors)follow it, I write what strikes my fancy and forget about it as soon I hit Publish.

"How is it possible to stick to a schedule?" you cry.

To which I respond, "Wish I knew. I sure can't."

So, not remembering any of my earlier posts, I'll list a couple of tips and if you've read them on my posts before, consider this a refresher. We can all use one of those can't we?

Tip Number One: Never, ever, ever, on the point of being boiled alive, submit your manuscript before it's been revised and edited so many times your eyes are about to pop out onto the paper from sheer exhaustion. I know you're proud of what you've written and no doubt it is a true masterpiece, but everything can do with a little editing. As some of you know, I am a strong believer in paying an outside editor (someone who doesn't love you, like you, or even know you) to read, edit, and make comments on your precious manuscript.

Number Always, always, always, grammar and spell check. There are a million and one ways to mess up your grammar and spelling. For example, the word there is also their, and they're, make sure you know the difference. If you're not sure, get a book and read up on grammar and usage.

Tip Number Two: Quit talking about your great idea for a novel, short story, script, play, or whatever you've been droning on about for years and put your butt in your chair, your fingers on your keyboard, and get it done. I've got a million great ideas for stories, but unless I spend the time doing the boring writing, none of them will ever get written. I know this tip sounds pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of people I've met that talk about their great idea. When I ask how many words it is they admit to have not writing a word. Don't be like that. Do the hard work and write your masterpiece.

I guess that's it for now. Let me end with an image from one of my favorite punctuation experts.