The best writing is potent. Concreted, dangerously good and lucid. What do I mean by this? Well, let me give me an illustration, inspired by the fact I have recently got into ‘juicing.’
You are feeling particularly healthy and want to make a wonderful, energising juice for yourself. You pack spinach, carrot, apple, half a bunch of celery and even some kale in your juice. Watermelon is in your fridge so you add two big chunks of that too.
All this goes to your juicer and after some whiz whiz whiz, geerrrrr geerrrr geerrrrr (forgive me, it’s harder than I thought to replicate the noise of my juicer in words) sounds later – BAM! Your juice is ready.
It fills a glass baller with its condensed, jam packed goodness and it looks and tastes amazing. Maybe.
My point behind the juice analogy is this: you make something wonderful that takes a lot more ingredients than it may appear to actually make happen.
That’s a lot like good writing. A page of your ‘best words’ contains not only the essence of what you are trying to say but probably the best of your redrafts too.
How many plums go into the making of plum jam? And how many bags of tomatoes simmer away on a stove to make ketchup or tomato sauce (depending on what you call it)?
A principle which I have often found to be true for writing is this: we need to put in much more than we think to get out what we need.
Potent Writing Recipe
For the writing to simmer
- A generous amount of ingredients
Your words! A publishable standard one page of writing probably has at least that much left over in redrafts. It’s all about just playing. fiddling, experimenting with your words until they sound just right.
*Serves how ever many readers you have
HINT: read your work aloud. And again. When you’re on a winning streak with writing, thinking – “Yes!!! That’s exactly the sentence I want to say. Let me get that down right away” – it’s not uncommon for our minds to skip over words, duplicate or just rush ahead without a thought for spelling or grammar.
You need a proof reader. Which is you. Unless of course you really hate proof reading and would like to hire a professional writer or editor to read over your work.Disclaimer: not all writers work in this way. I had a friend who I met in university who just deposited words straight on the page and hardly needed any proofing. That’s the dream…