Jus’ Thinkin’ ‘Bout Writin’

Why is it so easy to get flowery when you’re writing?  It’s like, the moment it’s time to start pontificating, some people start to sound like they’re from the 1800’s.  Why is that?  I just noticed it.  It’s like people don’t articulate very often so when they finally get around to it they feel the need to throw in a few “ahems”  and “furthermores”.  I’m not complaining necessarily, just observing and commenting as usual.  It’s funny.   I’m laughing.  Ha.  Ha.

I just slapped my knee.

I write a lot so I think I have an overly critical eye when I read things other people write.  I don’t think it’s the most gracious eye, I just have these opinions spinning around in my brain, you know?  I try to keep quiet because I know how I learned to write.  I just wrote a lot.  And I’ve often thought of writing as one of the most embarrassing things a person can do.  I mean, you’re really putting it out there, right?  And if it’s crappy, well… hopefully nobody else notices and you yourself can’t tell either..  I mean, wouldn’t you just hate to be a bad writer out there in front of people and what not?  I mean, how embarrassing!!!  People would roll their eyes at you.  Stuff like that.

While I’m on the subject of writing I’m gonna give 3 book recommendations.  These are books that have helped me (but don’t think I don’t spend a lot of time feeling embarrassed still!):

1) On Writing Well by William Zinsser – I actually think I need to read this book again.  I know at some point I decided that it was a book worth reading at least once a year.  And I think it’s been 2.  I remember picking this up and thinking it would be a tough read but after I got a little into I decided that I would be a fool to not read the rest of it.  Read this first.

2) The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner – I think I read this book about a year ago but I got a lot out of it.  It’s written by a woman who has been a professional editor for years and I found it fascinating to get an inside look into the mind of an editor.  I think writers fear editors but I also think that editors are very important for writers.  If you are a person who would like to be published someday, this a good book that will help you get an idea of what it’s like for the people who you’ll run into.  I mean, how would you like to be chased down by somebody who spent the last few years all alone waving a stack of papers with scribbles all over them?  Try to remember that editors are your friends who want to help you.  Not your enemies.  Trying to make it easier on them isn’t a bad idea.

Also, I think I link to the author’s blog somewhere on this blog.

3) The Elements of Editing: A Modern Guide for Editors and Journalists by Arthur Plotnik – Continuing the theme of books about editing, this is a companion to the Elements of Style book you had to buy in college (maybe high school too, I can’t remember).   This is a short book that I don’t think I actually finished but I do remember needing to hear a lot of the things it said.  I just found it helpful and worth reading.

Okay, that’s all I got.  Gotta bounce.

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