Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Troubles We Have When Writing

I think I'll be a writer. Lots of writers have started out with a statement just like that. Piece of cake they think. I have ideas that can be put in print ready for the world to read. Fine, but...

Wanting to be a writer usually also means you wish to be published so others can read your work. That part is not so easy. You may have a super idea for a story or essay and you're eager to get it all down in black and white. First draft requires some editing. You know that. So you hurry through and add a bit of punctuation here, cut a word or two, add a thought and call it done. Next, you find an appropriate market and ship it off to the editor via an email, then sit back and wait to hear that your work was accepted.

If only it was that easy! You may have a great story idea but if the mechanics of writing fall way down to the bottom of your Writers should... list, your work will be rejected over and over. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have the following in everything you write:

  • proper punctuation
  • using same tense throughout
  • clarity 
  • sentences that are not awkward 
  • proper spelling
  • proper antecedents
  • noun and verb agreement
  • not overly wordy
  • few to no cliches
  • short and long sentences to balance
  • not too many adverbs
  • dialogue that is easy to follow
  • no repetition of same words
  • active verbs 
  • minimum adjectives
Some writers have the opposite problem. Their mechanics would get an A+ from any English teacher but the story idea doesn't come through clearly and concisely. They ramble on and on and never get to the real subject. They intersperse too many other bits and pieces and lose the reader. Their introduction is so long that the reader is long gone before he/she ever gets to the meat of the story. They write long and convoluted sentences that leave the reader scratching his/her head. I'm assuming the 'reader' here is an editor and I'm also guessing that the editor is never going to accept the story that is written in this manner. 

It does not matter what the writing problem is. All writers have some kind of trouble when writing. The longer we write, the fewer the problems become. Nevertheless, writing a new story or essay or article does not mean we are always going to do it perfectly. Something is going to give us trouble. But guess what? The more we write, the easier it is for us to A. see the problem and B. fix it. 

If you get frustrated by the difficulties you have when you write, know this:  You are in good company. Bestselling authors have trouble when writing certain parts of a new book. Experience has taught them, however, that they can work it out. Persistence is part of overcoming a problem like that. 

Have trouble writing? It's one way you know that you really are a writer!

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