Monday, May 12, 2008

8 1/2 Steps to Writing Better, Faster

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I love Visual Thesaurus. It's an online, mind-mapping thesaurus. Plug in a word you want a synonym for, and you get a muticolored "map" of different words.
The Web site is packed with other must-haves for writers too, like a word of the day and word lists and columns and blogs.

One of the columnists, Daphne Gray-Grant, is a writing and editing coach and the author of 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Better, Faster.
  1. In 8½ Steps to Writing Faster, Better you will learn:
    1. Why you should never, ever, ever write an outline to plan your writing (and what you should do instead).
    2. Five methods for turning off the voice in your head that says “I’m a crummy writer."
    3. How to budget your preparing, writing and self-editing time (the numbers will surprise you).
    4. Why walking away from your work is one of the single most important steps in writing.
    5. Nine different ledes (journalists call the beginning of their stories "ledes") to help grab your readers right from the first word.
    6. The exact sentence length you should write for maximum reader appeal.
    7. How to “automate” your editing so your computer does half of the work for you.
    8. Why you should consider turning off monitor when you write. (Yes, you read that correctly!).
    9. 10 tips for writing a book.
    And what’s the deal with the half step? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Go here for an interview with Gray-Grant on Visual Thesaurus. In the interview, she says she recommends that writers turn off their computer monitors when they're writing.


Gray-Grant says the goal of the exercise is to get you to stop reading what you've just written. She explains why:

"One of the metaphors I use in the book is that writing is a bit like driving a car. Everybody knows that only one person can drive at a time. And if your editing brain is driving, then your writing brain is in the backseat. And, conversely, if the writing brain is driving, you don't want the editing brain to be sitting there, too, trying to grab the steering wheel -- that's the way to get into an accident."

Interesting writing exercise. I just may try it. My only concern? I know there will be lots of typos on the screen when I turn my monitor back on!!

Anybody else game to turn off the monitor while they're writing?

No comments:

Blog Archive