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Common Sense Tips for When You Write
11/9/2019 10:26:00 AM by: Cindy Sproles

courtsey of www.pixabay.com & Devanath Writing isn’t always easy. It requires time and constant learning but even over those important things, adding a little common sense suggestions into the mix really spiffs things up. Over the years, I’ve learned a few common sense do’s and don’ts that help improve my writing skills.

*Follow the guidelines – Sometimes the guidelines are tedious, but there is method behind the madness. Spacing, fonts, margins, subject matter, etc. make a huge difference on web posts, and even in print. Guidelines are there to help minimize the work for those doing the publishing and to keep things consistent. When you follow the rules, your work stands a greater chance of publication.

*Learn your weakness and strive to improve them – I recently visited a grammar website to see how to punctuate the word “don’ts.”  A little cartoon woman popped up on the bottom of the screen with a bubble that said, “Can I proof your work? Yes. No. I clicked no since I was searching for a simple answer. The cartoon disappeared and a new one popped up that said, “Good luck sucker. You’re on your own.”  After I finished laughing, I realized the wisdom in that cartoon. It’s important to learn your weaknesses and practice fixing them, even if it means seeking help. We are an imperfect people who must strive for being better. Sometimes improving our work means paying someone for some additional help. Of course, you must take caution that you are seeking out the right assistance. Make sure you understand what type of editing assistance you need, proofing, content, formatting and be sure you seek help from reputable sources such as the Christian Pen or other groups that require credentialing for their editors. It’s wonderful gesture that your child’s high school English teacher is willing to edit your work, but seek out professionals who deal with writing novels or non-fiction. There is more to editing than getting all the grammar right (not that grammar isn’t important – it’s vital, but when you are writing a book, the mechanics reach farther than just grammar.)

*Don’t write and hit send – Never write an article or post and send it the same day. Good writers are like fine coffee pots –Courtesy of www.pixaby.com and Deans_Icons they percolate. Write your piece and step away for a day.  Allow yourself the opportunity to revisit your work with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised at the typos, punctuation, and phrasing that will jump at you when you revisit with new eyes. I’ve embarrassed myself before by rushing through a work to meet a deadline only to find a blaring mistake.  It behooves you to work in a timely manner and then think on what you’ve written. Tweak and rework. Polish the piece. Wait a few hours before you send. You’ll be glad you did.

*Study self-editing – A good writer is a good self-editor. There are great books on quick self-editing tips. I have a list of five items that I look for in every chapter. 1) Rue (resist the urge to explain. 2) GWS – Goes without saying. Those little things that are obvious to the reader and don’t need explanation.  3) TTW – tighten the writing by losing the ly words and replacing them with strong verbs. 4) PW – Passive writing is a killer. 5) POV – point of view. Are there any pov slips in my chapter? It takes time to craft a solid piece of work -and learning to self-edit is important.

*Don’t add individuals to your mailing list without their permission – Especially, publishers, editors, and agents. It’s not that they don’t want to read your work, but it’s a matter of time. Their “in boxes” fill daily with hundreds of emails and submissions. Newsletters, and blog posts that deliver uninvited, fill their boxes with unnecessary work. Before you add anyone to a mailing list, ask. Be courteous. And ALWAYS provide a link to opt out.

Follow these common sense helps as you trudge through the writing path. You won’t regret taking heed. Taking pride in your work and making it the very best it can be will not only bring you self-satisfaction but great success.

 

Photo courtesy of www.pixabay.com and Deans_Icons  and courtesy of Devanath

 

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Comments

Jane Duquette From FL At 11/11/2019 4:07:54 AM

Thanks for the important reminders, Cindy. It encouraged me to realize I have been following your suggestions for a while now. I'm on the home stretch. I appreciate your prayers for my first novel's acceptance. (We ate a meal together at FCWC.)

Mountain Breeze Writer


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