Congratulations! Your draft is done. You are doing well. Now for the exciting part; starting to get your story ready to face the rest of the world. All those hardwon words need to be cut down to size.

Every single word must earn its place in your story. Every sentence, every paragraph, every scene, every subplot must move the story forward. Readers paying to read your story deserve your very best.

Good luck. Your editor thanks you in advance.

The only secret

Often, the purpose of writing the first draft is to tell yourself the story. By the time you finish, you should have a very good idea of what you want to say in your story. Rewriting is the time for clarifying your message.

Some of the best writing advice I’ve heard is to “Mean what you say, and say what you mean.” Using the correct words to convey your message as clearly and effectively as possible is important because it gives your reader the best reading experience.

One Single Fact

The one single fact which can give significance to an entire story is sometimes called a ‘significant detail’. This can convince the reader that the story is plausible, could actually happen.

Show rather than tell the significant detail in vivid and realistic detail to spark in the reader’s imagination, the cinematic or fictive dream.

The last sentence is comforting. Your wildest ideas are fine, so long as you can find that one fact that makes them believable. You can do anything!

We are Cups

What a wonderful metaphor! The first sentence appealed to me just as much as the second. It’s important to ensure that we are ‘constantly and quietly being filled’. Otherwise, there’s no ‘beautiful stuff’ to be let out.

Workplace burnout is becoming so common that it was recently reclassified by the World Health Organization as an occupational syndrome. Well, we’ve all known about it for a long time. So, how do we ensure that we don’t get to that stage? By constantly and quietly filling our ‘cup’.

Read regularly. Read what you wish you had written. Read the kind of books you want to write when you are as wildly succesful as in your dreams. Read about subjects that make you passionate, the passions that drive your writing. Read for the joy of it, read for the words, read for the love of it.

Keep learning. Go through those writing books in your bookcase or ereader. No matter how many times I’ve read mine, I always learn something new. Book into webinars, seminars, conferences. Get together with other writers. Learning something new feeds my passion.

Make a regular date with yourself to do what makes you happy. Whether it’s going out to the movies, art gallery, markets, dinner, coffee with friends, find things that make you happy and fill that cup.

Just as importantly, let all that beautiful stuff come pouring out. Every writer has their own unique writing system and style. Try the suggestions that work for others, take what works for you and discard the rest. Don’t give up. Keep going until you find what works for you.

Are You Funny Yet?


Life happens to all of us. For writers, all of it is grist for the mill: the good the bad and the downright ugly. Don’t you love Marian Keye’s attitude?

I have a beloved aunt who has one of the funniest people I know. I asked her about it once and she said that, for her, it’s a nervous reaction. I sometimes wish I and certain others would develop that reaction. It would be a lot more socially acceptable!

Sometimes the funny side of a situation takes a while for us to see, but writing about it helps. I think I’m going to try seeing the funny side a lot sooner.