writing methods that work 100 percent of the time . . . except when they don’t

As long as we’re on the topic of writing (We’re not really. Or we weren’t. But we are now. See what I just did there?), I’m bravely going to state the writing obvious:

10. Write every day, even if the end product isn’t literary genius or you never show it to anyone. Just write. It will get easier. I promise.

9. Microsoft Word’s spell check and grammar check hate you. They want you to fail.

8. Never, ever turn in your first draft. Draft 3 . . . maybe. Draft 1 . . . never.

7. When you’re done writing a piece, re-read and then re-write your verbs. Plumping up your verbs will revolutionize your writing. Guaranteed.

6. Just because you wrote a devotion in third grade and your grandma liked it does not make you a writer.  Or an editor. Or an expert. It just means you have a nice grandma.

5. Refrain from using the word passion when talking about God. Please. For my sake? I recently read the sentence, “I am passionately in love with my husband Matt and Jesus.” I blushed. #awkward

3.  Read people whose writing you like, and then mimic them.  I read Dave Petersen and Dave Barry weekly. (Clarification: Mimic is not to be confused with plagiarize.)

2. Short sentences can be profound. More adjectives do not a better thought make.

1. Learn to be edited. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. But it will make you a better writer, a clearer thinker, a more articulate communicator. And you can bet the farm on that.

{Don’t, actually. I mean, unless you really want to get rid of your farm. Then it’s pretty much up to you.}

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6 thoughts on “writing methods that work 100 percent of the time . . . except when they don’t

  1. Just discovered your blog through Facebook. Love the writing methods. I do not write every day, but I read everyday. I’m convinced that this improves what I write. #9 is absolutely correct. #8 I’ve never met a draft I couldn’t change and hopefully improve. In #3 I find if I read the ones I admire I mimic them, unintentionally. #2 may be even more correct than #9. I wouldn’t bet the farm (and we have one) on #1, but I know I have never written anything that couldnt be improve by someone else editing it. Thanks for your blog.

  2. Thanks for the straight talk. One thing I’ve found in my writing is that you have to write what you think about most of the time, even if it’s drivel about a TV show or where you ate lunch last week. This works for me in part because my job (planting corn samples or driving to fields) allows for free headspace. And write what you feel passionately about.

  3. I found your number 4.
    4. Meet your friend at the beach for a writer’s retreat. Said friend must be Lutheran and must bring tasty treats such as iced coffee, margaritas and homemade guacamole. Said friend’s name must be Edie.

  4. Do writers have something against the number 4?

    Also, “passion” and God are only allowed in one phrase, ever: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    And I agree completely with #3. One of my favorite things is to read and try to mimic David Petersen. Maybe plagiarize too.

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