Hey Writer—the Bad…

April 22 2019_jjhHey, Writer—the last post in the series focused on the best parts of your writing. If you haven’t read it and taken the 3-minute challenge, go here.

Today we’re peeking at something challenging—the things we know need to be shored up or polished in our writing process. There are so many “moving parts” in the process when we take a closer look: showing and telling, the writer’s and characters’ voices, plot and subplots, writing style and conventions. It’s overwhelming if we get stuck in all of it.

Truth is, we don’t do all of writing skillfully; there’s room for growth in this craft. We will be more successful when we accept that truth and ourselves as we are in the writing process. Admitting we have room for improvement in the first and final drafts can be encouraging.

As an editor, I’ll list some of the common struggles I see.

  • Comma, comma, comma, comma, comma, chameleon
  • Conjunction junctions
  • Content spell-bound by uncommon terms
  • Flooding the work with adjectives and adverbs
  • Footnotes! Everybody footnote! (Citation styles can be tricky.)
  • Inconsistencies in plot, character traits, or minor details
  • Plodding storyline or subplots that distract
  • Regular use of lackluster words: being verbs and “that,” for example
  • Telling, rather than showing

You might see your nemesis in the list above, or you may already know the first thing you should address in your writing based on feedback. I always think it’s great to know where to start in my crafting and drafting growth.

The imperfections can be addressed in baby steps, but the first step is knowing where the attention is needed. Do you know? How would you find out? Try some of these:

  • Create or join a writer’s group or circle for the community and feedback
  • Consider a guild or larger learning community for writing resources
  • Find truthful and encouraging critical readers who know your genre
  • Study the areas mentioned repeatedly in the feedback
  • Study the craft to become your own best and fierce friend for self-editing
  • Find a skilled editor to help you with your words

Remember, this isn’t really the “bad” in our work but a growth opportunity. Writers write. Good writers are teachable, learn the craft, and master bits at a time.

Writer, own your place and space in the writing world. Your words and stories matter. Readers need what you have to say. Don’t shirk the work for the wrong reasons. Step into and grow into the role of writer. After all, you are one!

Here’s your quick 3-minute assignment for sharing below: think about a single growth area in your writing process. What is it? Brainstorm one or two steps you can take to strengthen your weakness. When will you step into this growth opportunity?

~Jennifer

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