I haven’t felt very good this weekend. The symptoms are of a fairly mild cold. Given that there is a rather virulent strain of flu running rampant in the area I feel like I have little room to complain. None-the-less, I find that every time I try to do something, my head pounds, my throat hurts, and I get winded.
Yesterday, I went to a meeting of the Huntsville Downtown Writers’ Group. We were treated to a marvelous program on the importance of a good editor and how to choose one given by Ann Marie Martin. In addition to learning about editing and editors, I also learned some important things that will help improve my writing. I thought I’d share a couple of them with you.
First, you’ve got to capture your reader’s interest on the first page. If you can manage to do it with your title, you’re ahead of the game. Reading is an investment of time. No one wants to spend their time reading a boring story. If you don’t convince them that you have a good story for them on the first page, they won’t turn it to see if the rest of the story is any better.
The other thing that I learned is that writing with constraints, for example a limited number of words or a deadline for finishing the piece, can help sharpen the focus of your writing. It was as I listened to this advice that I realized that forcing myself to write a blog post every day was part of my writing apprenticeship. I decided that I should put a length limit on my posts to help me learn to distill what I have to say.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.