What’s It About?

I found that one of my faults when writing assignments on tight deadlines, is that I don’t focus my writing enough.I’m not sure why, but now that I know it can be a problem, you can be sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

When you ask “what is this writing piece about” you should always be able to describe the what or objective of the narration concisely in a sentence. When you answer with multiple items, you know you have to pick one and cancel out or shorten considerably the remainder. Not only is it good practice to be brief with extraneous details and items that can potentially send you writing on a tangent…but more importantly, you don’t want to annoy your reader. So it’s best to stay focused. Be on target.

It’s also important to find a trusted soul — or if you’re particularly gifted by the writign gods, then two or more — whom you can send items to for clear, objective feedback. I can’t think of a better way to find out what’s good and what’s bad. What items stay with the reader and what item will bug them. Whenever something bothers your reviewer(s) pay particular attention, because you probably can detect the inconsistency and eliminate it better than anyone. Feedback will undoubtedly provide you the key to the lock of a good writing piece.

Personally, I always welcome constructive feedback. It’s just that sometimes those who end up providing me solicited or unsolicited feedback can have hidden agendas that I detect and then this information taints the usefulness of the feedback. It’s also important to discern when valuable feedback is being offered no matter who is offering it to you. Each bit of feedback is a gift, so make use of it to improve your writing.

Do you have a particular technique that helps you stay on target when writing? Do you catch yourself meandering? Do you later use your meanders in other pieces? I’ve acquired the practice of noting down splices and portions of thoughts that I think can be expanded into blog posts or writing pieces. It’s important to write down just enough so you can recapture the train of thought when you return to it.

So how do you keep on track? Do you have a group or a sole reviewer you trust? What do you do with tangents?

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4 responses to “What’s It About?

  1. I’m a better writer than speaker. I try to speak the way I write and it frustrates the hell out of my wife sometimes as I often give far more detail than she wants or needs.

    Jane Wyman once said of her ex-husband, Ronald Reagan (paraphrased), “Don’t ask Ronnie what time it is, he’ll tell you how watches are made and who invented them!”

    I can relate to that as I tend to do the same.

  2. I’m also a much better writer than a speaker, many writers feel the same…though it’s something I’m working on continuously. I learned from speech analysis class back in college that one shouldn’t speak the way they write, nor the other way around…try telling that to a professional speaker, or a good writer who has ackward social skills.

  3. Yeah people kind of get annoyed when I try to build dramatic tension when I’m speaking to them. Last night I annoyed my wife when she asked a simple yes or no question and I gave her an answer that was neither yes nor no.

    “Do you think Bill O’Reilly’s comparing Haiti to the south side of Chicago is belittling what happened there?”

    My response:
    “Consider the source.”

    Not quite what she was looking for.

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