More on writing

freerange has some writing tips. They are all useful. Here are some new points (to me).


2. Read a lot. Read writers you like, writers other writers like, writers you can’t stand but know you can learn from. I prayed for the Rapture to come and release me from the pain of reading W.G. Sebald, but I learned a lot.


11. Reduce, reuse, recycle. If you like a riff (or scene, or character), but it doesn’t fit in the piece you’re working in, boldly whack it, and save it separately. I had an entirely essay grow out of a paragraph I cut from another essay where it really didn’t fit at all, and the cutting grew the better, stronger plant.

That would also work for class material-slides and notes.


12. Back up your work. Back it up electronically. Back it up in paper. (Last week I reconstructed a three-page section from a printout.) Back it up in a way that if your office goes up in flames you still have your work somewhere. N.b.: it is that last step I still haven’t accomplished to my satisfaction, but I am thinking hard about off-site backup (in addition to local backup and local hard copies).

Not really new to me, but I’ve been burned badly in the past on this. So repeating it will remind me to check the office computer tomorrow so see that backup really is working.


15. If you do any fact-based writing, save and organize your citations. You are likely to return to these facts for future work, and you never want to have to reconstruct them again. I subscribe to RefWorks, a Web-based citation management software which I adore, but if you aren’t immersed in research-based fact-based writing, then a spreadsheet, a document file, or even a legal pad might suffice.

All great. Found through Lifehacker.


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