Friday Speak Out!: Breaking The Golden Rule

Friday, June 10, 2016
by Mary Ann Sromoski

There are many challenges and obstacles when attempting to create a successful article. I’ve written numerous articles during my freelance career, and it seems I always find an error after the article has been submitted. They are often very small mistakes that are usually not even picked up by your average reader. However, to the seasoned writer, they stand out like a neon sign. How on earth did I miss such a silly, beginner’s mistake? I always proofread my completed drafts before submitting them, or so I thought, so why do I continue this pattern?

Okay, let’s be honest here. I don’t always proofread. The more appropriate term would be scanning. I know! The Golden Rule of writing, in my opinion, is proofreading your work several times. I admit that I was in a hurry or just plain sick of writing about the topic, so I completed it with a quick scan and submitted it. Not only did I do this for articles, but also the two e-books I had just published! How completely embarrassing. When will I learn to not break the golden rule? A rule that I’m fully aware of and constantly repeat to others.

In the beginning of my writing career, I’d often think, if you’re on a roll, just go with it. As long as you steer clear of or correct the red lines in Google docs, you were good to go. Well, not so much. I’d often just want to get the article done and be over with the assignments. Another mistake. One thing you must do is walk away from your computer and do something entirely different. Working hastily is your brain telling you that you need a break from it all. Listen to it. Don’t be in such a rush, because you’ll wind up regretting it and breaking the golden rule yourself.

I’ve just developed a new approach for myself when writing. You can call it a check list if you will.
1. Be in the right mood for writing - let’s face it, it may be our passion, but most of us are not always in the mood.
2. Look over your project instructions.
3. Do proper research as needed. 
4. Write down your thoughts.
5. Start brainstorming by writing every thought down in article format.
6. Now go back through your draft - you’ll find a bunch of mistakes, but that’s normal. During this phase, you will also notice really bad sentences and phrases and immediately have a better way of rephrasing things.
7. Don’t rush through the project.
8. Suffering from writer’s block? - walk away from your computer and forget about the assignment. Sometimes, your best ideas come to you when you’re not thinking about it.
9. When you feel ready, go back to sit at your computer and proofread your draft.
10. Rewrite it in the proper format.
11. Once you feel it may be the final draft, go back and reread it again!! And again! I can’t emphasize this enough. No scanning or skimming. Read it as if it was an article in a magazine you wanted to read. Pick it apart.

You certainly don’t have to follow my steps. Make a list of your own. Whatever works for you. The bottom line to take away from this article is to never break the golden rule.

* * *
Mary Ann Sromoski’s career did not begin with writing. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Behavioral Science with a major focus in Psychology. Immediately following graduation, Mary Ann began working in various specialties in the mental health field. Ever since she can remember, she’s had a passion and affinity for reading and writing. Realizing she possessed a natural talent in the accurate application of English grammar and editing, she has been able to adapt to writing about a wide array of topics. 
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sheila Good said...

An excellent checklist for writing articles. Sometimes, we read the same piece so many times, our brains and eyes miss mistakes. So, I have a rule I always do after finishing a piece. I send the document to my Kindle and listen to it. You would be amazed at the number of things popping out at you. Thanks for sharing your process. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

Marebare712 said...

@sheilamgood thanks so much. What a great idea about Kindle. I'm going to have to add that to my checklist!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top