Earlier in the year we were lucky enough to interview Yewande Omotoso, Mahtem Shiferraw and Edyth Bulbring - three writers who are equally talented but have quite different styles. They gave some insight into the writing process and self-editing and hopefully some of these gems inspire and challenge you.
- Give yourself permission.
- For people who “don’t have time to write” carry a notebook everywhere. Sure you might not have chunks of hours available but everyone has a few seconds to take down a sentence or two – this is writing.
- Edit with the question, “Does this belong? If it wasn’t there would they miss it?”
- Things that really helped me: read your work out loud. A lot. Always. Distance too; learning to distance yourself from the work & give it enough room to breathe.
- Always inquire. What does the work want to be? Measure the work within the parameters of itself, not of others' work. Don’t be afraid to take it apart, and by that I mean: do take it apart. Don’t kill your darlings, but extract them, & place them somewhere else; you never know what they will blossom into.
- Share your work with peers, family, friends, co-workers; it’s always good to hear how your work is reflected in the world.
- Sometimes it’s good to begin things in the middle and work your way around a poem/story.
- And the golden rule: read. Read everything & anything. Reading will not only make you a great writer & editor, but a wonderful human being too.
Cut, cut, cut (Less is more)
Don’t be scared of a good adjective or adverb
Be very scared of an exclamation mark!
Use simple words
- Avoid long sentences