RSS Feed

Tag Archives: writing

…Edit Their Writing

Here’s the thing: Writing mistakes are bound to happen. In the heat of the moment, in the absolute thrill of the thought, our fingers can’t pen (or type!) fast enough to keep up with the brilliance dancing in our heads. And, trust me, writers can get caught up in the thought’s brilliance, or at least be convinced of its veracity and value. Thus, the finer elements — you know, clarity, perfect word choice, grammatical sense — come later. Well. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Through discipline, habit and the occasional burst of inspiration, writers commit their observations and thoughts and half-formed ideas to paper. (Is it at all strange to you that today’s ‘paper’ need never be touched? A ‘Word™ doc’ looks like paper, right? Ah, virtual worlds, we hardly understand ye…)

So. Through drafting and revision, half-formed thoughts soon become full-blown sentences. Ideas take organizational shape. Brilliance — or at least good sense — pours forth. Through the process a finished product emerges. That’s when the writing meets its match. Because someone is going to read it. Who will be first?

Sometimes, we let our friends (SO CALLED!) read the thing before anyone else lays eyes on it, because, what are friends for if not to tell us that a bit of lettuce lingers between our front teeth, or that those jeans are too small for our oversized backsides, or that our half-baked ideas need some more time in the oven?

Sounds so right, doesn’t it?

WRONG.

See, friends don’t let friends edit their writing. Friends don’t let friends proofread for typos, mechanics errors, or idea development either. Why not? Because as it turns out, friends sometimes bring careful critique and a suggestion or two with them. They think to themselves:

‘Hey! we’re friends — I can speak frankly.’ I can say, ‘You know,’ this still needs a bit of work.’ I can point out, ‘This section doesn’t really GO anywhere.’ I can suggest that the passive voice distances readers from the action.’ I can say, ‘This has such potential — but it’s not quite there yet.’

You would think that friends who are readers would be able to say such things about a piece of writing to their friends, who are writers.

You would be wrong.

Friends don’t let friends edit their writing. Ever. Unless, of course, they want to lose their friends.

I write from personal experience, friends. I tried editing once. Writing may have been critiqued. Flaws may have been identified. A writer’s ego may have been bruised. A friend may have been lost.

Writers, a bit of advice: Check your organization, polish your voices, use good words. Abandon your egos.

Friends, a bit of advice: when someone asks you to edit their writing, don’t just say ‘no.’ Say ‘HELL NO!” Remember, friends don’t let friends edit their writing. They hire an editor for that.

 

…Fall Into the Trap of the Daily Post: Roy G Biv

Here’s why…

I got in my car yesterday and the Indigo Girls were singing “Closer to Fine,” which is an okay tune, I guess, but the Rasputin stanza always feels a bit forced, and the next thing you know, I’m feeling blue about my inability to just enjoy a song and forget about the lyrics. Thinking a little Coldplay might be more to my liking (and because I have the technology), instead of listening to the radio I clicked over to my ipod and found myself listening to “Yellow.” Again – an okay tune, but how can the entire world be bathed in a primary color? I clearly needed a passenger along for the ride – someone to chat with – sort of a Violet to my Lucy, you know? Violet & Lucy

 

 

Alas. I was stuck making the drive alone. In need of some sort of distraction, I flipped over to talk radio. This is never a good idea. Too much Rush (could he be any higher on his own fumes?!) in the afternoon will make anyone see red. I started regretting my craving for oranges, but in the midst of winter, when not a speck of green covers my little plot of the earth and the sun won’t shine, a bit of citrus will brighten up the gloomiest of afternoons. Sort of like reading a good blog might do. Instead, dear reader (maybe a Jane Eyre-esque moment can save this thing?!) you’ve suffered through this little ditty, thereby falling into a similar DP trap. And so friends, my point is made: Friends don’t let friends fall into the trap of the Daily Post. They wave them off, saying ‘For the love of all that is good and holy,  come up with your own material!’

Here ends the tale of Roy G. Biv, who, for lack of creativity, succumbed to the Daily Post. Don’t let it happen to your friends.