Saturday, November 21, 2009

G.I.V.E. -- Writing Tips All Wrapped Up

Thanksgiving and Christmas, are my favorite holidays. One is about gratitude. The other is about giving--two very good things. With “Turkey Day” now only days away, I’ve started transitioning from what I’m grateful for to what I’m going to give. So, with thoughts of “giving” on my mind, I've created some writing tips, all wrapped up in the word GIVE.

G is for GIVE yourself permission to be emotional. When you sit down to write, let your emotions flow. Don’t stop writing until you’ve given your all. You can edit and fine-tune your transitions later. Real emotion can’t be forced. If you hold back on the giving in the beginning, you might have a hard time trying to fake it later. Don’t miss out on the crowning emotion and raw energy that will make your piece stand out. Emote! Give way to your emotions.

I is for IMAGINE the possibilities. In the beginning, it’s important to imagine all that is possible. This is about brainstorming. Don’t stop to evaluate whether or not your thoughts are good enough to keep. Just keep writing down ideas. Evaluate later. One writing coach suggests the following: “When you can't think of another word, wait a while. Often the most powerful idea will surface after you have cleared all the less valuable ideas out of the way.”

V is for VERBALIZING your thoughts clearly using strong action words, correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. A sloppy presentation can cloud clever writing. It’s imperative to understand and apply correct grammar rules and proper punctuation. Pay attention to spelling. Even computer spellcheckers don’t catch everything. It’s worth the extra effort to check for accuracy. Verbalize with clarity using strong verbs and nouns. Personally, I’m working on this one. One idea is to circle all of the action verbs on your page. Come up with at least one alternative word and choose which one is best.

• E is for EDIT after everything else. This is tough for me. I write a paragraph and immediately I want to fix it. But that often wastes precious brainstorming time and emotional flow. Remember to EDIT at the end. As one writing tip expert advises: “If you worry about spelling, grammar, or how to sell your book while you write, you are writing with a dull pencil.”

Well, I know this isn’t the traditional, touchy-feeling GIVE list that we’re accustomed to seeing during the holidays, but I hope you feel thankful for the gift. Happy Turkey!


Jodi Robinson, Author, “Women of Virtue”,


Tamika: said...

Thanks for reminding me the importance of G.I.V.E (ing)! You get out what you put in.