OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?
My nightmare could be summed up with these simple words: “I know what you wrote, but what do you mean?”
Clarity seems simple:
But when I was younger, and I heard this phrase, I would become incensed. How could someone—anyone—not understand what I mean? I wrote poetry and to me it was the simplest of art forms. I couldn’t paint, act, play a musical instrument, or sing. But I could put a few words down and the person would feel something.
So when I wrote longer works, how did I lose my clarity?
Struggling for Eloquence:
I knew what I thought and what I wanted to say, but there were many times when I didn’t use the right word.
Over time and with the help of a few kind and patient soles, I learned how to select the right words. It wasn’t easy, and it took a fair amount of stubbornness on my part.
It turns out I’m a minimalist too:
It goes against my instincts to write so much down. What I’ve learned is first sentence is a topic sentence and there is no harm in expanding a thought with more detail.
Another thing is to let my work rest long enough for the internal movie to disappear. Then when I re-read my work I see the glaring gaps and choppy sections for myself.
I know my flaws and what to look for when doing my read through. My readers get what I mean now. Some think my writing isn’t too bad, but I still ask for help.
Sometimes I still don’t see my mistakes and my beta readers are such a blessing. It isn’t their job to guess at what I mean.
What lengths do you go to for clarify your work?
Any shortcuts you’d like to share?