My New Best Advice For Writers

30 Oct

Write your own craft book/tool.


I know you’re thinking ‘WHAT? If I could write my own craft book, why would I be searching for writing information online?’


You know the old saying about not knowing a topic until you can teach it? It’s turning out to be more true than I could ever have  known. The process alone is worth the effort even if you go no further with your project than self-use.


Several weeks ago I wrote about my Edit Cards system HERE and after several questions wrote a second, clarifying blog HERE. On the encouragement of a few people, I decided to try to make the system user-friendly for people who are not me and see if it might be something to market here as an editing tool.


So, here I am in the midst of streamlining, editing, elucidating and organizing cards by topic/edit sweep and what have I learned?

  1. This process really does work for me
  2. I think I have something simple that will work for others as well 
  3. My current personal editing issues are not the only ones to study
  4. I can streamline my own editing process further
  5. I can create few edit mini-passes with that streamlined process
  6. Grouping the topics is forcing me to analyze HOW I edit, not just WHAT I edit.
  7. Several editing issues are repetitive
  8. Knowing a process inside and out simplifies it
  9. Being forced to explain not only WHY you need to do something, but HOW forces you to look at your own writing style


Some of those may sound repetitive, but they aren’t if you dig underneath the main issue.


For example, streamlining the process and grouping the topics. I looked at those to issues at the same time in an effort to cut a possible 120 cards at least in half. In doing this, I looked at which things I did in one mini-pass.


So, a mini-pass might have included Weak, Repetitive Place Holding Actions —> Smiled, Nodded, Turned, Crossed, Frowned, Shrugged, Laughed.


Instead of creating a card for each, I created one card for that topic. On the back I have the WHY, the HOW, EXAMPLES and a space for other users to add their common words.


As I work on this project while I continue to write and critique for others I’m picking up things in my writing that are becoming innate writing actions instead of editing issues later. I’m also picking up editing issues that aren’t typical ones for me. Well, at least not now. Maybe they were in the past. Maybe the will be in the future, but in making a general tool, I’m forced to study those topics and learn their HOW and WHY also.


All in all, this has been an amazing process and even if my Edit Card guinea pigs look at it and say, “um, no” I’ve learned more about editing and how I can do it better than I probably would have in 10 hours of craft workshops.

5 Responses to “My New Best Advice For Writers”

  1. randy October 30, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    Interesting suggestion.

  2. Celise October 30, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    I don’t really have anything like this, but maybe I should start. I know the one word–phrase?–I tend to use frequently is “He/she rolled her eyes.” I write for teens. They roll their eyes a lot. What can I say? LOL. But apparently, my characters do it a lot. Definitely something to think about. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Andrea October 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    If you ever decide to market these, I would be the first to buy them. I eventually plan to expand my company to include writing workshops for teens, and I think these would make a great educational tool.

  4. briaq October 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks Randy.

    Celise – so true! I talked a bit about this in my Word Book post. I took a non-writing friend out for coffee, gave both of us notebooks and we took movement notes for an hour. The best part about the non-writer friend is she wasn’t worried about HOW to say things. Sometimes she just drew little pictures. It was a great day!


  5. briaq October 30, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    Wow Andrea thanks – Great! I’ve been excited by people emailing since I started working on these.

    The issue is just making sure their worth the bang 🙂

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