I’ve tried and tried and tried, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t edit a blank page—neither can you. When writing a first draft, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be written. Even if you put down a paragraph at a time, a sentence at a time, it’s still one more paragraph or sentence than what you had before. Just keep writing until you write those precious words of “The End.”
Don’t always rely on the spellchecker. Actually check a dictionary. The issue is mainly those words that have multiple spellings with different meanings depending on context. If in doubt, always check a dictionary. Oxford English Dictionary is best for those using UK English. Merriam-Webster is the most common for US English.
For those participating in CampNaNoWriMo, keep in mind that these sorts of events are actually about building your writing community. Yes, you are working toward a word-count goal, one you’ve specified, but there is a reason that they encourage participation in cabins. Get to know the others in your cabin and start networking. You’ll need that support as you continue along your writing journey.
When looking through writers’ blog, it’s not surprising to see that so many of them focus on books and writing. We’re meant to blog about what we know and writing is what we know, right? WRONG! You are more than just a writer and you know about so much more, even if you don’t think so. Unless there is a strategic business reason to be focusing 100% on writing, you should include those others aspects of your life into your blog.
While colloquial slang might have someone turn round, the phrase is actually turn around. Round is a mathematical concept: round shape, round numbers, sequence. Around is the adverb. If a character uses the colloquial slang, then have them say, “Turn ’round.” Note the use of the apostrophe. This will highlight that you know it should be around, but deliberately used round.
Ensure that you are using the correct tone within your writing. Within fiction, you will need to match tone to the character (even if your narrator is not really a character). Within non-fiction, remember there is a big difference between a professional tone with humor added in and one that is insulting and condescending. You might have an important message, but the tone used to deliver that message will change the way in which it is received.
Anyone who has used a smartphone for a text message will know how auto-correct can easily get things wrong, but there is one auto-correct system that will put you on the wrong every time unless you watch it. Word processing systems will often auto-capitalize the first word after a quotation mark if the dialogue ends with a question mark or an exclamation point.
It seems almost obvious, yet, I frequently hear (or read) that another writer has chosen to forgo the valuable steps of editing. Editing is much more than just spelling, punctuation and grammar. It’s about tone, voice and message too. NEVER underestimate the value of importance of editing.
The word “just” is often a word that can be deleted from a manuscript, but don’t hit “Delete All Instances.” Just has a different meanings depending on the context: just punishment; “Just do it!”; just stood there, staring. I would delete the last instance, but not the first two; “just” gives the words more meaning.