This writer’s workshop, I’m attending, has me thinking beyond writing to editing being more than a spell check. I am very lazy with commas. Years ago, one of my teacher’s criticized my use of the comma, saying I use too many. I fixed this as any rebel would by leaving them out, a nasty habit to get into, or should I say, to get out of?
I must confess: my problems go far beyond punctuation. I need to return to the idea of thinking in terms of ‘the essay‘, instead of excusing running off topic as being a stream-of-consciousness style. Of course, the personal essay involves a life, but that doesn’t mean, the whole life needs to be in the piece. One thing I hadn’t considered was the distribution of weight. Just because the information is important to me, doesn’t mean it is necessary for the essay.
So, editing beyond spelling and punctuation, means cutting. I am not a wordy writer; I am actually, stingy with words.
I remember a conversation I had with a writing professor, when given a five-page assignment. I told her I don’t know how I could possibly go on for five pages about the topic. She told me not to worry about the length assigned, that others write with excess words, and therefore, need five pages to fully explore the topic. When I am writing, blogging, without an assignment, I let myself go off in a variety of directions. I’ve found that I need to cut, not words, but entire thoughts and paragraphs. I do know, where a professor may have been lenient, the publisher’s word count is concrete.
Having identified my topic and cut out the useless paragraphs, I was left with more work. Then, I needed to develop paragraphs to support my theme. That’s right, an essay has a theme. As an English major, who enjoys writing, I need to follow the rules, as I have ambitions, beyond writing a blog.
and here I am embarrassed by my incompetency.
Getting serious about my writing has slowed my contribution to blogging, which on most days, has had an entry, lately seriously neglected. I hope in return, as the workshop has come to a conclusion, to give my reader more thoughtful writings, as I remember the basic rules and strive toward professionalism.