April 27, 2009 – Trying to Remember

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.” (Beryl Pfizer)

Do you ever feel like that? I’m a list maker. As long as I have my lists in front of me I get a lot done and don’t forget much. But finding the lists can be a problem.

Another sure way of losing something is putting it in a good place. Often I find something I know I will need to use soon. It’s so tempting to want to take it from the place it has been for years and put it in the more convenient place with the projects I am working on now. Almost inevitably, when I do this, I spend more time looking for it than if I had left it in its original place. Recently I did this with some especially nice teaching flashcards about Moses. Never did find them.

Writing can be like that. You learn new things and file them away in your mind. Show, don’t tell. Think, talk, act. Use power verbs. Avoid passive voice. Use short sentences. But when you go to write you forget. When you read your writing you can’t see what’s missing. How do you take what you learn and actually work it into your writing?

One answer is checklists. Make a checklist of the things you want to check your writing for. Go ahead and write. Then go back and check for the things on your list. This may feel awkward at first and you may wonder if you are getting anywhere. But in time these things will become a natural part of your writing style.

I have several opportunities to teach writing in the near future. In June and July I have a couple of workshops on short story writing. I have a couple of critique sessions to go with them. This is to help fellow members of the Southern Scribes prepare for a short story contest here in New Zealand. I also plan to teach eight weeks of writing on Thursday nights starting late in July. This is for hobby writers in Invercargill who would like to improve their writing. The Lord has given me these opportunities. I hope to use them to further develop my website. I would like to take principles and exercises I use in my class and feature them on my website. That way the teaching helps my website and the website helps my teaching. By working with real people who are learning writing principles I can see what writers need to know.

So be sure to keep checking my website for new articles and blogs. Proverbs 27:17 talks about “iron sharpening iron” and friends keeping each other sharp. My hope is that this website will be a way to work together and keep each other sharp.

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