What Good Writers Do
Remember these posters from elementary school? I used to believe that good writers did all these things and if a writer did all these things, they were good. Now I’m not so sure. Sometimes the best writers are the ones who break the rules. I suggest the following revisions to the elementary good writer rules.
What Good Writers Do. . .
1) They think about their topic. More often, they don’t know what they think about a certain topic, but they still write. Sometimes it’s by writing that you discover what you think.
2) They scribble. They doodle. They scratch out words. They make word maps. The write furiously fast so they don’t lose a runaway idea. They are rarely neat.
3) They pay more attention to drawing word pictures than they do to observing every single rule. They learn the rules to pass freshman grammar. They scrap the rules to create new stories, emotions, and settings.
4) Finger spaces made our handwriting neat and readable, but good writers know that neatness doesn’t count – at least not in the beginning. (See #2 above.)
5) They read it over and over. Then they change words, shift scenes, tighten phrasing, and correct mistakes. In the end, they scrap 75-80% of what they wrote and start again.
6) They ask, “How can I make sense of ___?” Then they write until they do.