I received a wonderful e-mail this morning from Bring Your Book to Life Program graduate, Stephanie Hrehirchuk and thought you might find a few good lessons in it.
Stephanie wrote: “Funny story: I was surfing around at links connected to my name. I saw a strange picture that linked me to a health magazine I know. I submitted 2 articles to the magazine early last fall…to put myself out there and exercise some courage in exposing myself and my writing.
“So…they published one of the pieces in January. As I read it, I wanted to delete it from their site! The passive voice screamed at me and I found myself editing it as I read.
“I am obviously becoming a far better writer because I know at the time I wrote that article I thought it was really good Nice to know how I’ve improved since the start of your course.”
I see at least 5 lessons in this one:
1. Edit out passive verbs when you can. Well chosen verbs bring energy to your writing and hold far more power than adjectives and adverbs.
2. It can’t hurt to have an editor look at a piece you plan to post online. It often stays there forever.
3. Do a Google Alerts for your name so you know when something gets published by or about you.
4. A good writing class can help you become a better editor of your own work. Good writing is a skill that can be learned by almost anyone (it can be harder if you’re super-ADD and can’t stay focused within a sentence or paragraph, but otherwise most people can learn the skills relatively easily).
5. Forgive yourself any mistakes and focus on the positive: If you read Stephanie’s full blog post on the experience, you’ll find that she ends her post with “I’m pretty proud to have put myself out there. I think half the battle, if not more, is finding the courage to risk exposure and share your story with the world. My intent is always that somehow what I have to offer helps someone else. ” When you come back to why you’re writing, you keep the triumph of being published and any lesser issues are just lessons learned for next time.
Any lessons I missed? Any recent writing lessons you’d like to share?