C.S Lakin, wrote a short piece on ten easy tips to help yourself edit your own writing. As I read through the ten items, I realized I had heard these all at least once before. The very next thing I noticed, was how easily I forget to check these essentials on a regular basis. So, I would like to address the ten tips in terms of my own writing. This will be used as a future tool to remind myself, writing advice can never be repeated too many times.
1. “Give it a rest.”
I am Shaina Hayutin, and I am a procrastinator. I came to realize the severity of the compulsion over the last few months. I cannot start an assignment until the very last minute. The pressure feeds into my writing abilities and makes me write better, more clearly and more efficiently. However, when I receive my grades on such assignments I always see blatant errors that I could have fixed had I given myself more time to reread and edit. If I had taken some more time, a few days, a day, even an hour, I may have seen those mistakes. Admitting is the first step. The next nine steps will be a part of this ongoing process to become a better writer.
2. “Read aloud what you wrote.”
Reading out loud has always deemed helpful in the past. I utilize this step frequently, but it’s time to make it habitual.
3. “Search and destroy weasel words.”
I always try and be on the look out of, “weasel words,” as Lakin would say. They really do muddy up your work.
4. “Trim sentences.”
I pride myself on clarity. I feel. The shorter. The sentence. The better. In all seriousness, the more words you can cut out, the clearer your writing. My dad is also a writer. He has continuously given me this tip for as long as I can remember; it’s engrained in me.
5. “You need comas.”
Personally, I hate commas. I feel the less, the better. However, I understand the necessity of their use. The more accurately you use commas, the more concise your writing. Thus, the more proud my dad is of me.
6. “Don’t overdo the punctuation.”
I tend to be a dry humor, monotone kind of person. Letting my words speak for itself relies on quite a lot of sarcasm. Overuse of exclamation marks is never an issue. Most of the time, I seem to use question marks properly. However, it’s the period that may get me in trouble sometimes. I rely too heavily on my tone to fuel my message and always use a period. That may be a good thing, but it is also something to be aware of.
7. “Pay attention to verb conjugations.”
Conjugating verbs. I didn’t know this was a thing until I took Spanish class in the eighth grade. Doing it in another language is just as hard as doing it in English. I rely heavily on the way sentences sound, rather than if the sentence structure was written properly. I should really tighten up my conjugating skills.
8. “Ditch extraneous tags when writing dialog.”
I try not to tag people too frequently. It’s always a good reminder to keep a nice balance between formal nouns and pronouns.
9. “Avoid passive construction.”
In my attempt to be clear, I sometimes come off a bit too vague. I would rather say things in less words than go on a rant explaining myself. I must remind myself, proper descriptions are a necessary part of clarity.
10. “Check those tenses.”
I have committed the wrong tense crime many-a-times. Once I take a break from my writing, I always catch it in the editing phase. However, this takes us back to step one. I must work on my procrastination. Then, the ten steps may proceed in a more natural order.
Important note: I wrote the first draft of this post on Wednesday afternoon. Today is Friday. I gave it a rest. Editing today was effective. #makingprogress.