Effective Sequencing can Empower Your Words
For decades, I’ve shaped effective written materials for clients and myself. At the end of assignments, clients often ask if there’s a definitive method for generating quality writing. Unfortunately, while aspects of the pieces I write can serve as virtual templates, I have to report there’s no magic potion for guaranteeing effectual wordsmithing. For anyone. Amateur or pro, the key to quality writing is blending creativity with exhaustive editing.
Feeling nervous to launch your writing project? Ask yourself one simple question: Am I so focused on the final product that I’m inhibiting my ability to write? Your honest answer might be a reluctant yes. If so, merely facing a pen or keyboard can be traumatic. In response, consider performing a visualization exercise. Without committing yourself to serious meditative practices, you should be able to picture your target audience reacting positively to a large screen presentation of your message. Armed with this optimistic image, you should feel better prepared to set your verbal vehicle on the path to success.
How will you reach your goal? Regardless of the type of text you are composing, I’ve found that outlining is an invaluable tool. I believe there are three essential steps to shaping a focused outline:
~ Write a mission statement summarizing your project’s purpose
~ List key points in a progressive sequence that validates your summary
~ Craft a closing statement summarizing how you’ve met the goals of your mission
You now have a recipe for determining the content and sequencing of the elements of your composition. The exact position of the various components will vary, depending on the product you’re fabricating. The key points on your list may yield paragraphs in an essay, article or speech. They may also become individual pages in a website. If you are seeking financial backing for a new business, they could become categories within your business plan. And fiction? Well, your list may be the plotline that yields the chapters of a prize winning novel.
Despite my assertion that such organization will aid every writing endeavor, do not suppose that good writers never experience confusion, indecision, or misdirection. The writing process is a dovetailing of creative and technical activity. As you plunge into the construction process of your project, you will need to alternate between capturing the essence of what you want to say and coldly editing what you have written. The beauty of this double pronged approach is that you can let your thoughts flow freely, knowing that the structure of your work will evolve as you edit your way toward a harmonious conclusion. I certainly found this approach to wordsmithing invaluable in writing the first Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mysteries, Prospect For Murder.
This approach facilitates your remaining productive, even when experiencing writer’s block. For if you feel your creativity as a writer has stagnated, you can turn to another aspect of the project. Is there supporting material that requires your attention? Perhaps you need to shape a bibliography or glossary, or a preface, afterword or acknowledgement section. If you’re responsible for printing, broadcasting, or uploading the final product, you may also need to work on color, form, texture, and artwork to present your thoughts with dynamism to your readers or viewers. And, of course, there’s always your personal bio or corporate mission statement to revisit…
Wishing you the best in your writing endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, wordsmith and design consultant
Tips to enhancing your writing may be found in:
Empowering Your Words, February 2015
Creating Fictional Characters, March 2015
Sidestepping Writer’s Block, April 2015
Communicating with Every Sense, May 2015
Energizing Narrative Passages, September 2015
The Author Recycles, July 2017
Balancing Text & Space, February 2017
Book Series Adventures, April 2018
Drawing on Sense Memories, July 2018
For further tips on branding, please visit my marketing website
Imaginings Wordpower and Design Consultation.
To learn more about the Natalie Seachrist Mysteries, including the new release, Murders of Conveyance, a few Island recipes and my other projects, please visit my author website at JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com.