Aha! · Writers Write

Stupid Writer Tricks or Stuff That’s Working For Me

  • Single space the manuscript. I learned this at David Hewson’s blog. I thought it would make me crazy or at least blind, but I’m able to see repetitive words. David says, “If you write double spaced on-screen the number of words you will see will be greatly reduced. That means it’s harder to spot when you repeat yourself, harder to follow what’s gone before. Change your line spacing from double to single or 1.5 and you get greater control over your work. Control is one of the biggest challenges there is.” And speaking of repetitive words . . .
  • I’ve written about Wordle before, but recently I revisited the website, pasting in with the current manuscript. I use like, back, know, and just too often. When an insignificant word looms large in the word cloud, it’s time to cut.
  • I was reading Betsy Lerner’s book, The Forest for the Trees when I had an Aha! moment. If I can’t quit web surfing and start writing, it’s because I’m feeling isolated. The solution is to go to Las Palapas or to the bookstore or Starbucks. Parked in a booth or at the counter on a stool, I swill coffee and write to the sound human voices until the scene is finished.
  • Like the summer I spent painting houses after college, a mind numbingly boring exercise reminds me to get back to writing. Lately, I have two tasks: peeling wallpaper off the master bath wall–score, spray, peel, repeat; and pulling weeds out of my flower bed–place a hula hoop on the ground and pull all the weeds in the circle. After a few minutes, I’m ready to write.
  • Eat a live frog every morning. Seriously. Watch this.

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