The trouble with publishing drafts is that it makes me all the more aware of how it strips away some of the magic of writing. It's far easier to appear like writing is easy for me when all anybody sees is the final draft. True, I've done enough writing that there are elements of ease to it (particularly short posts), but the real reason behind this drafting experiment is to illustrate how I still have to work at it. For whatever that's worth.
Once again, changes from the previous draft are bold-faced.
One of the best things about one-year olds just learning words? You can teach them to say things that make you laugh. Jules has mamama, dadda, dayeeezeee!, and sihsih (Sydney) down. And now she has added a rascally little roar to her vocabulary. We say, "Jules! Roar!" and she gets a huge smile
on her face, opens her mouth wide, and a little baby tiger comes romping from her vocal chords. It's so endearing. Along with her mad skills of knack for sleeping through the night and eating whatever I feed her. I think we'll keep her. She's a keeper.
And speaking of roaring, the lovely and wondrous Sam (whose Tuesdays are the best because she posts photos of Thomas, whose cheeks are so kissable!) has passed along the ROAR! for Powerful Words award to me, which means I need to list three writing tips.
It's a funny thing about writing tips. Because, you know, I actually have a degree in Writing Tips (except those academic snobs call it something like Language Arts Education). And yet...obviously, I still have lots to learn about writing. Fortunately, I like being in that position. Learning about writing is one of my most favorite things to do. That, and listen to Jules roar.
Hopefully my writing tips won't sound too teacher-ly, but if it does there's a reason for that: I'm a teacher. Also, my writing tips focus on engaging a reader, rather than just writing for self. I'm all about writing for self, but that's not where these tips are headed (see, that's the teacher in me coming out).
A word of clarification about these tips: I'm thinking more in terms of writing for an audience and developing your process of writing rather than just tips on where to begin to write. Other ROAR! recipients have given great suggestions in this latter field, so I thought I'd try a different take on it. I don't mean to imply that there needs to be some process to writing in order to engage a reader (I have always loved that Marilyn writes with few edits (and has such a remarkable voice through her writing), and engages the reader without any thought to process). Just that, for me, my best writing is definitely something I labor over.
- A word about style: Using repetition, being deliberate, writing threads
- Be fearless: what to share
- Playing with mirrors:
Peter Fish from Sunset, The Sports Guy from ESPN, Fug Girls, Maggie Mason.Don't be afraid to use writing techniques from other writers. Even though I'm a big fan of reading novels, the writers who influence my style the most are those who write for magazines and blogs--probably because I aspire to be a columnist rather than being a novelist. Being an avid reader can only help improve your writing, unless you're reading Russian novels, in which case that won't help you at all. Here's the short list of columnists I love the most:
- Peter Fish who writes for Sunset magazine is amazing with his travel pieces. I love the way he uses punctuation, and I am more aware of how I use dashes and colons thanks to him.
- Maggie Mason is a great one for capturing conversation snippets. Her posts are rarely long, but usually smile worthy.
- Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) writes for ESPN magazine, and I love his wit and humor. Believe it or not, even if Jason wanted to cancel his subscription to ESPN I wouldn't do it. I'm addicted to sports columnists.
- The girls over at Go Fug Yourself are snarky as all get out, and there's a good argument to be made against fashion writers. But I have learned many tricks of the humor writing trade from these ladies. Plus, they have a great conversational tone to their writing that I find interesting and entertaining.
- Above all, however, the one who has influenced my writing about parenting the most is Catherine Newman. While she is more melancholy than I am, I am in love with the way she captures the lives of her children. I'm inspired every time I read her.
Final draft will be published tonight.