Given that school is about to start, it seems appropo (at least to this writer) to address – however briefly – the craft of writing.
ONE: Do not write. Or rather, do not “write.” Generally, when many of us sit down to a writing task, we think, “Well, this has to impress all who read it” and we end up “writing.”
I say, write like you speak. Talk to the page; talk as if it were a friend instead of a page. You can worry about style and voice and all that stuff later. For clarity, brevity, and a smooth-flowing sentence, try just saying it. (I’m just sayin’)
TWO: Go easy on the adjectives and adverbs. When you can, stick to noun/verb sentences. You’ll find your writing is a lot leaner and more direct. (See, I just cut out a modifier.)
THREE: Speaking of cutting, I think that there is a word we overuse and that sticks to most sentences like barnacles to a hull. See the word “that” in the first sentence? Didn’t need either one. Start keeping an eye out for barnacle-that’s in your writing. You’ll be shocked how many creep in.
FOUR: Don’t show me your first draft. First drafts always suck. Real writing starts in the rewriting.
FIVE: Read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
SIX: When you’ve said what you need to say, stop.