Wednesday, the Esbru, the Empire State Building run up takes place this Wednesday in New York City. Kelly Ripa, of Live with Kelly and Michael, will participate as will many others who will run up the 1, 576 stairs in 86 flights in dark, cramped, oxygen limiting conditions to raise funds for Multiple Myeloma Research and other worthy causes. I say bravo to them for their single-mindedness and dedication to this task. From what I’ve read, success in this task requires the use of a variety of training strategies
Strategies benefit writers in their climb to the top as well. Last week, when presenting my children’s book at a K-8 school, a 7th grader asked me what is harder – writing the beginning, middle, or end of a book. I responded that the middle is the hardest and qualified it with “actually, the revision of the middle is the hardest. Writers usually know where they want a piece to begin and end, but getting the delicious details and connections right in the middle is the hardest. Revision is a beast that one must constantly try to harness with a variety of strategies.
Some of the revision strategies I find helpful in my race to perfect my writing include the following:
Reading a piece out loud is a favorite of mine. I used to advise my students in testing situations to pretend they were sitting in our author’s chair sharing with the class, and to read their piece out loud – inside of their own head – so as not to disturb others. Otherwise, I suggested that they really read the piece out loud. So many glaring errors appear during the out loud reading of one’s work. This reading aloud is like a team that supports any competitor whether it be a race or a creative task.
Another favorite revision strategy of mine involves bouncing ideas, or sections of my writing off of others. Their input and honest feed back often prompts such additional creativity for me. The right person must be picked for this task. Having one say, “That’s really good,” is not helpful to a writer. I trained my students to respond with specifics about what they liked thought lacked details or proper connections in a piece of shared writing. I also reminded them that listening or reading a piece for revision is not the same task as being asked to edit a piece. It is so much easier to correct punctuation and spelling than to really get to the heart of what needs to be fixed about the writing. This frankness and specificity is what helps me improve my writing. Don’t you agree?
A final strategy that I use throughout the writing process is to carry my idea everywhere I go. I keep the piece front and center in my thinking and jot ideas down for revision on the notes section on my smart phone. Some of the best ideas come when I’m listening to presentations or seminars on a variety of topics. It just seems that when my brain’s energy moves on to direct itself to other tasks, fresh creativity sneaks in the other side of my brain. Once again, I try to hold on to the idea long enough to politely jot it down on my phone while not disturbing the speaker. This strategy keeps me pumped up and keep my eye on the prize of writing my best piece.
These are some of my most productive strategies to climb to the top in my race to improve my writing What revision strategies work best for you?