See your writing with new eyes

Blodgett Canyon, Hamilton, Montana.

Shooting stars in bloom.  April 8, 2017.  Photo:  Theresa Duncan

The low temperature at my house this morning was 22 degrees (Fahrenheit). Brrr. The local news declared yesterday that we have had our coldest start to the year (January – April) since 1979. Last

night, I was looking through an old journal and found twenty-degree lows recorded in late April and early May before, even read that I had been concerned about my hummingbirds being too cold. I am trying to see Spring with new eyes. I scour the ground for buttercups, shooting stars, and arrowleaf balsamroot.

Blooming arrowleaf balsamroot and lupine across the road from my house.  Photo taken May 3, 2016 by Theresa Duncan.

Do you do that same thing with your writing? See it as it is today and wonder if it will ever be beautiful? You have read this draft so many times, the words no longer register in your brain. You aren’t even sure if the piece makes sense anymore.

When editing becomes this uncertain, I have a trick I use. I copy and paste the piece into a new Word document and change the font, both style and size; sometimes I even change the background color. The first time I heard about this I blew the idea off, thinking there was no way it would work. But it did. I was still very familiar with the writing, but seeing it this new way helped my mind focus on the words differently. Often, it becomes obvious that I have not varied sentence length, or redundancies seem to pop off the page at me. When I read aloud form this different version, filler words and weak verbs and adjectives also become obvious. Strange, I know, but it works.

Try it! Pick a piece of writing, put it in a new document, changing font, size, and color. See if you can pick out those errors in that all-too-familiar piece that sounds hollow to your writer’s ear. Let me know how it works for you.

Keep looking for gems and surprises on the page, and on the ground.

Happy writing… ~T

At Stacking Stones Writers, I seek to create a community of writers, a place you can go to find encouragement for your passion – writing.  Please follow the Stacking Stones Writers blog to have easy access to all the tips, tools, and ideas shared here.  Thank you!

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