Stories and characters populate your mind — you’ve been writing and making up stories since you can remember. You’ve already got a daily writing practice in place to jumpstart your creativity and ease in to your writing projects each day. You’ve got a lot of material, but the question is, what can you do to make your writing better?
“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”
–Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1966
Speak your piece!
Writers know that words don’t often magically tumble out of their brain on to the page or the screen in Pulitzer Prize-winning order. Revision and re-writing are important to polishing what you write.
One tip that you can integrate into your editing workflow right away is to simply read your work aloud. Or, if you think you might not be able to trust your own ear, have a close friend read your work aloud to you. This tried and true strategy was a lifelong ritual for Canadian author Timothy Findley:
Eventually, Tiff would appear, his handwritten pages clutched in his hands, released only in exchange for his glass of wine. We then quickly settled down and I would do what I had been doing for decades: read aloud to the author from those pages…There was serious intent here, however: Tiff firmly believed that if my tongue tripped over any of his writing, then it was quite likely, as he would put it, that his reader’s brains might also trip over the words. This was a hedge against those stumbles.
Next time you’re ready to revise, take a few moments to read your work aloud. You’ll hear the passages that need smoothing loud and clear and your ear will give you some guidance on what needs to happen to fix your work.