You have a lot to think about. So, this may sound difficult. But, as a writer who wears 5 other hats a day, I can tell you that this habit has been a huge help in maximizing my writing practice without having to actually sit down and practice.
First off, rewriting all of your work is the single best way to produce better quality work. Someone once said, “Bloggers write. Writers rewrite.” As an avid blogger I can tell you I don’t always rewrite my blog posts. Usually, it is just a stream of thought from brain to fingers to keyboard. And there is something to be said of that style. Some of my favorite Bloggers simply put it down and send it out, which gives it a personal and conversational feel. When producing work for a client or even a good friend though, You have to rewrite. That means entertaining the idea that your first idea might not be your best idea. All it is, in simple terms, is taking a chunk of text and saying it again, differently. To get used to doing this, it takes developing a skill of saying things over and over in different ways! After all it was Hemingway who said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” That makes getting to the second draft even more important. The good news is this doesn’t take a pen or keyboard to practice! And don’t worry; It is a skill which means it can be developed.
A few months ago I did this by accident, and started using ever since. I was at my “day job” working the stocking shift for a local office supply store. While working I noticed an ad for Crayola crayons that looked awful. It read, “Crayola: Inspire Everything Imaginable.” “What a mouthful!” I thought. What if it just said “Inspire Everything” or even just “Inspire it All” or if you want to change the meaning but still use those words, “Imagine what you can inspire.” I played with this ad for Crayola all morning. Then I started doing it with longer statements I saw on the backs of pen packages and and even PCs. Of course, the PC ads didn’t work as well. I re-imagined those as, “Ultrabook: Inspired by Apple. Compromised by Windows.” Or “Half the price of a Mac. And replaced only twice as often!” But anyway, you get the idea.
sThe world is your practice space. Everything from billboards to menus to brochures and websites are candidates for rewriting practice. How would you say that? Could you do better? In doing this as a beginning writer, it also helps you find your style of writing. Your way of describing things. Your favorite words and phrases. Your voice.
Hopefully, this series has been helpful to some of you out there. Writing is indeed, as Carlos Fuentes said, “a struggle against silence”, but you can do it. Don’t give in to silence even at the end of a long day at the “day job”. You have words that deserve to be heard. We need to hear them. We are counting on you not to be silent!
Best of luck, my friends, best of luck.