Some weeks, my mind gravitates towards one focus. Other weeks, a different niche grabs my attention. Recently, kindness was my focus, but this week the concept of quality has sat with me.
What is quality? It depends upon the context, but here’s some examples from my world. For me, it is proof-reading your work before hitting publish. It is making time for clients, but more importantly for friends. Quality can be seen in the way you give back to your community and to those less fortunate than yourself. A mark of someone who cares is in remembering special dates, big events, and important happenings that touch someone else. Just a few words asking after a person can mean so much.
Taking the time to put in your best effort is important. It might take longer, but in the grand scheme of things, is worth it. A half hazard attempt shows in so many ways and speaks volumes of the person behind them. Do you want to work with or be associated with someone who doesn’t put in their best effort? That is often questionable.
And as I cannot let it go, I reread my words before sending them out into the universe. I add thoughts here, take some away there. I reread the above paragraph three times and changed the wording to make the paragraph more succinct and less repetitive. And gosh darn it, I had to look up how to spell succinct, not to mention double-check the definition to make sure that was the correct word for my meaning. Took away another few words again…
It feels like I am getting away from that definition now, but it is all part of the process. What marks quality for you in a person or someone’s efforts? Is it in perfection or compassion? Thought or details? Brevity or depth of information?
succinct – marked by the use of few words to convey much information or meaning
What ways can you keep active, even when you don’t have a specific writing project on the go? As I dodge responsibility left and right, I ponder how to keep viable as a writer. Solution? Write a new blog post!
Writing a blog post is just one tactic though. Even if you don’t have a bigger project on the go (or are stumped with what direction to take the one you are working on at present) what else can you do?
Ways to Keep Writing
review a book
comment on a book review
update your social media pages (Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Add updates, refresh contact info and pictures, rewrite bio, etc)
start a new social media account (Haven’t tried Google+? Give it a gander. New to Pinterest? Pin on! Unsure about Snapchat? Get snapping.)
brainstorm for ideas for blog posts
edit an existing piece of writing (yours or someone else’s)
take a writing class
send out queries for new article ideas
write in a journal
write in a different place than you normally do
tackle a writing prompt (try writing microfiction, or write something from a photo or written prompt)
The important thing is not always what you write, but that you keep practicing your art. With time, comes comfort and ease in the process. Plus, the more you write, the better your writing will become! So get writing. I just did.
“You can go a long way on short words.” – Joseph J. Romm
Short words. Well then, I’m not sure how far I’ll go. I think it’s safe to safe that I can be a bit verbose at times.
Yes, I do carry on…
But there is something to be said for concise language, compact storytelling and no wasted words to slow the story down. As much as I continually add to my African tale, one of the things that I am doing in the editing of the story is to make it more precise. I am cutting plenty of ‘tell’ and adding in more dialogue to ‘show’ what’s going on. I’m adding more informal words and in that way, cutting the wandering philosophizing that I am wont to do. It is a travel memoir after all, and as such doesn’t need to come off like a dry textbook. Sometimes I feel like the language police are sitting on my shoulder, but the story is becoming more accessible and flowing better.
So instead of procrastinating here any longer, perhaps I will get to the perennial task at hand. To Africa I go, to edit…
For those who have been following along with the continuing saga of the writing of my African Adventure, know that I am still at it. A prologue has been re-added to my African tale (I had one, took it out, then completely reworked it), but this time with more details of life before I left Canada. As of last night, my word count sits at 70,646 words and 283 pages. It just keeps growing!
Can I share something with you though? It feels like I might never finish this. I have been writing and editing the story for longer than I was away and it just keeps getting longer. I keep going back to the beginning again and editing from square one. Over and over again! Argh!!
But, every time I go back again the story feels better than the last. The scenes keep on fleshing out and growing bigger. The writing is definitely getting stronger. If I can keep my focus and drive intact, I just might have a pretty decent book once I get to the end of it. And I say “once”, not “if” to keep my momentum going.
One thing I am sure of, I know my memoir will get longer before it’s done.
Thank you to my friends for your advice and insight at this stage. You keep my going and I know you know who you are. If anyone else is interested in beta-reading a section of the tale let me know and I will gladly take your two cents worth too.
For now, I keep editing, and editing, and editing…