Monday, August 06, 2007

weekly writing coach: style the pile

To get more insight and practice in improving your work, take a half-hour this week and pull one recent piece of your writing out of the "pile," more likely from the electronic file where it's stored. Choose a portion -- even one or two paragraphs would do -- and look at it with fresh eyes. You may even want to segregate the paragraph in question from the rest of the document, so you can see it more clearly. What do you notice today? Can you make it shorter? Should it have been longer? If so, where? Are word choices springing out at you from the paragraph? Why? Now, rewrite the paragraph, using the insights you've gained. Taking a short amount of time to review your work -- once you gain some distance from it -- is a great way to improve your writing. And if you can arrange to do this within a month of having written the piece, you can use the exercise to make improvements all the faster.

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