Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Weekly writing coach: Are you a writer and a publisher? Be one at a time

I like to say that blogging gave writers the keys to the publisher's car, making it simple not just to create a written work, but to broadcast it widely--something writers didn't get to do in the good old days. But with those keys comes responsibility for errors, uneven tone or misguided entries. Ease of publishing doesn't mean what's published is good. What's the solution?

Separate writing from publishing.

Those words flew out of the middle of this good ProBlogger post about developing your blog's voice (itself a good topic) and struck me as a practice that will help writers of all kinds.  The recommendation here is about tone, but I think it applies to a wider range of writing situations:
Try to avoid publishing posts as you write them. Instead, save the post and review it later, when you’re in a different frame of mind. This way, even if you can’t avoid writing posts in varying moods, you’ll be able to cast an objective eye over your posts, and to edit and tweak them in ways that reinforce the tone you’re aiming for.
Keeping writing apart from publishing will help you avoid errors that happen when you're moving too fast, tired, or just unable to focus. This requires planning, of course, but you can shift your schedule (and take advantage of most publishing platforms' ability to allow pre-scheduled posts) without too much effort.  Pulling the two processes apart may help you keep the writer's mindset while crafting and the publisher's sharp eye ("how am I going to answer for this?") in their proper places.  I'd love to hear if you think this will help your writing, or view it as unnecessary. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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