Making The Most Of Your Words

“Why am I writing this?” This is the very first question that you must ask yourself before you write anything. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to sell it? Are you writing something informative? Is your writing meant to inspire? Are you writing to entertain? Once you have clearly defined your reason, your piece will virtually write itself.
First, make a list of what all you want to do with your writing. Be specific and be general. Think of as many things that you can. Make a list or write down random thoughts. Do not worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar at this point. Just write what is on your mind. I think that one thing that holds so many people back is worrying that their stories will sound stupid. I have done it…haven’t we all? Let it go! No one sees your work until it is complete. When you let go of your inhibitions…that is when you write a masterpiece!
Now I want to talk to you about something a little different. As we sit and write, we are surrounded by an imaginary box. Picture it if you will. Say there is this big invisible box–the type that refrigerators come in, that surrounds you in your room as you write/type/outline/daydream, whatever it is that you do when you start a story. As you are writing, think about what you are writing. How can you expand on what you are writing? This is not to say that you must write more. Most times, less is more. Picture yourself reaching outside of that box. What can you say to describe the situation better? What can you write so that the reader can feel the icy cold steel of the flute that Jane took out of her carrying case; hear the sound of the pads slightly sticking for just a nanosecond as she slowly lifts and lowers her fingers on the keys; the smell of the old handkerchief that has been soaked in rubbing alcohol too many times to count that Jane uses to wipe the spit out of the long, hollow tube at the end of each session? You get the picture, right?
Is there a limit on what you have to write? Is the assignment to be 500-800 words? My suggestion is to take advantage of the word limit and write a very descriptive, verbose paper. Do not just write the minimum 500 words…shoot for 750. You may end up with 782, but you have gone above and beyond the expectations. Grab a thesaurus and a dictionary–or use one online! Expand. Set your goal higher, farther than you have ever gone and work diligently to get there! We all have it in us to do it; it is just a matter of bringing it to its surface and using it to the best of our ability.
Once you have completed your piece, take it to someone that you trust. Whether this is a friend or a parent, just so long as they know what they are doing when it comes to grammar, language, etc. Ask them to read and edit it. Take their suggestions to heart! Sometimes, you are too close to your work. You have read it so many times that you practically have it memorized. You know what should say, whether that is what it says or not. You might be surprised how much better someone else can make a statement than you.
Finally, one of the most important things to remember about writing: no matter how many fancy, ten-letter words you use in your work, if the reader can not read it comfortably, they will eventually give up and your work will have been for nothing. So just basically, take what you would say and expand on it. Give it more meaning. Make the experience for the reader as close to real as possible. After all, isn’t that what makes reading so wonderful? Being able to be in the humid, sultry south and then be able to set the book down and walk away from it, instantly refreshed by the temperature of their air-conditioned home?

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