Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Start to Finish (Part 6 of 10)

Polish your writing.

I like to rewrite. Sound crazy? Not to me, because I enjoy finding ways to make my writing better. Below are some of the things I look for when I get into Serious Mode Editing.

I scrutinize for clichés, fuzzy thoughts, grammatical problems, poor word choice, and favorite words I've used too often. I ask myself: Have I written with a logical progression? Too many writers touch on a topic and four paragraphs later go back to the same point.

Another thing, I read the final sentence of a paragraph and the first of the next to see if I've made good transitions. If you read the two previous sentences, you'll see that by starting this paragraph with "another thing," I made a transition. You had no trouble following my thoughts.

I get rid of clutter, such as redundancies and laborious phrases. A good rule is that if I can think of a simpler word, I use it in place of a long word. We write to communicate, not to impress.

Check sentence length. When you get above 20 words in a sentence with no commas or semicolons, you're already straining the grasp of some.

I especially look for clichés. I'm weary of reading those overused phrases. At Christmas, for example, I must have read 50 ads that touted the perfect Christmas gift. Not only is nothing perfect, but the word has become meaningless.

I'll deal with clichés another time, but think of it this way. If it's an expression you've heard before, it's probably a cliché. Find a different-but-clear way to say it.

Revise that article. Then do it again. There is no magic number of revisions, but it's always more than one.


  1. Ouch! :)

    Good food for thought! Do you spend much time rewriting and polishing your writing with this blog too?


  2. I like to rewrite, too. I use the 'find' feature a lot. I look for those unnecessary words. I don't like reading long sentences, either, so I try to get rid of them in my writing. Thank you for your advice on making our writing the best it can be.

  3. I enjoy having several articles lined up for a column so when the deadline comes I can click through a few and see which one speaks from where I am in my spiritual walk. Usually I will quickly write a few paragraphs as life happens to get thoughts down for an upcoming column. God simmers the idea and often continues to teach me it. When I have a few to select from I usually can find one that I really feel I have something fresh from God. This makes the rewrite much easier and enjoyable.


What are your thoughts?