Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shedding

The other day, I read an article in House Beautiful by Julie Morgenstern, "the guru of putting lives in order." Julie was discussing ways to clean out your closet, but it struck me that what she wrote could apply to your writing as well. The one section that really struck me was her thoughts on "shed: what it means." She stated it is more than just getting rid of things and involves four steps: 1. Separate, 2. Heave, 3. Embrace, and 4. Drive.

What does this mean for you as a writer?

  1. Separate - look at your words, find the "gems," and discard the rest. This can be old manuscripts that haven't sold, or it can be right in your current WIP. Don't be so attached to your writing. Be willing to separate the good from the bad.
  2. Heave - eliminate the words that weigh down your manuscript. Look for passive writing, and adverbs and adjectives that clog the story or article with unnecessary words. Be sure you're showing not telling your story. Find an active voice, use fresh exciting words.
  3. Embrace - find your own voice and hold true to it. Don't try to copy another writer's style or story. Look for your own unique way of telling a tale.
  4. Drive - push yourself to be the best writer you can be. Proofread, edit, and rewrite as necessary. Explore new types of writing. If you're stuck, try poetry or a non-fiction article. If you can't sell your poetry, try writing a children's picture or rhyming book.
What can you shed today?

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