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Injured? Still Time for Inspiration and Inscribing

Updated on August 20, 2015

Less than Ideal Conditions

I'm at my computer with my leg propped up on top of the tower, sitting on two pillows.

I lost a battle with a car bumper and suffered a mild concussion and a torn muscle in my rear and thigh.

I am several shades of purple and in some pain. That didn't stop me from being where I'm supposed to be though. My muse expects me to be ready, willing and well, able. Does she care that I'm not up to par? Heck, no, she's okay.

So I don't seem able? Well, I'll just rely on the Meatloaf concept here, "Two out of three ain't bad."

Apples and apple writers - so many choices
Apples and apple writers - so many choices | Source

Apple and Orange Writers

Perhaps my perception of poets and song writers is too fanciful. I think they find inspiration in sometimes the most mundane things, like an injury.

Then they get to use several literary devices to make cohesive lines. There's:

• Alliteration

• Assonance

• Cacophony

• Consonance

• Euphony

• Hyperbole

• Imagery

• Metaphor

• Metonymy

• Onomatopoeia

• Rhyme Scheme/Rhyme

I like to think of poets and songwriters as apple writers. So many choices in how to present the words. Rather like an orchard of burgundy, red, yellow, green, tart, and sweet.

Or savory in a filling, spiced up with cinnamon, soothing as sauce - oh the list goes on.

Then there are writers like myself - what I call the orange writers. We get to write about facts, figures, and non-fiction. Even using alliteration, our writing seems faint in comparison, but it's our passion.

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The feel of the paper.  All those red lines, and arrows, and directions - made me appreciate my computer
The feel of the paper. All those red lines, and arrows, and directions - made me appreciate my computer | Source

Showing Up - The Biggest Battle

Over the last few days, it's been uncomfortable sitting. According to my doctor, sitting will only exacerbate the pain.

His solution was to lay down. Now, I don't know about other writers, but laying down for me just brings about contemplation, not necessarily productive inspiration.

But, even in my prone state, I could use a pen and paper. Armed with pen and paper, I thought about all the great writers who only had those as their means of putting thoughts and feelings to paper. I realized how spoiled we writers of today are.

We've got spell check, cut and paste and run it through Grammarly or something similar. With a computer check, we don't have to see all those long red lines that in editing means - leave it out. I like Kurt Vonnegut's take on that subject, " If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out."

Laying there, with circles, scratched out passages, arrows and other marks indicating that I needed to make changes to the hand-written article was discouraging, but necessary.

Wearing the Editor Hat

I think of myself as a writer who is free to put down anything that comes to mind. I then have to switch hats and self-edit.

There's a dark side to that task as science fiction writer, Eric T. Benoit points out, “Self-editing is the path to the dark side. Self-editing leads to self-delusion, self-delusion leads to missed mistakes, missed mistakes lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews are the tools of the dark side.”

Too many writers rely on their quick wit, ability to research facts, and string words together to get by. Each of those components makes for a good article, but without the structural basis, the finished piece looks unprofessional. So, what are the biggest mistakes people make in their rush to publish?


• Content

There is a simplicity to good writing; it gets to the point. One intention of the writer is to have someone read the words. But today, there are over 2,000,000 article written, daily.

That is a lot of competition for a reader's time. Unless the words are cohesive, interesting and valuable, readers will go elsewhere.

One of the most common mistakes that writers make is writing too much. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” ― Dr. Seuss

If our writing is a chore for readers, they will not stay with us. So it doesn't matter if our end sentence is a killer if no one gets to it. So we have to think of the value of the words, not the number.

“Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress... ― Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

When we are objective about our writing, in an edit we find the superfluous - all those extra, somewhat interesting, excessively descriptive passages that bog down our pieces. In an edit, they have to go. Period.

• Typos

Writers suffer from "I know what I meant to write syndrome." No, you won't find it in a Physician's Desk Reference, but it's real.

If, is, and it are all legitimate words, however, they may not be the right word for the context of the article. Without careful editing, these words, along with homonyms, homographs and homophones will get by.

Jarod Kintz divides the world of writers into two distinct types, “there are two typos of people in this world: those who can edit and those who can’t” . While this is a comical explanation about editing, it reinforces the point, that we read what makes sense.

The discerning reader doesn't want to make sense of our writing, they expect us to do that before we publish it.

No caption necessary
No caption necessary | Source
Panda - eats, shoots and leaves?
Panda - eats, shoots and leaves? | Source
  • Punctuation

Confident punctuation is the correct way to convey our meaning to our readers.

We all use punctuation in our speech as Russell Baker points out, “When speaking aloud, you punctuate constantly — with body language. Your listener hears commas, dashes, question marks, exclamation points, quotation marks as you shout, whisper, pause, wave your arms, roll your eyes, wrinkle your brow.

In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear the way you want to be heard.”

We want to make sense to our readers, and punctuation contributes to that understanding. Without correct punctuation, we end up sending the wrong message.

I like Lynne Truss' accurate examples, whether it's a panda teaching me, or remembering that punctuation controls the reading. It shows the reader how to interpret the words and gives them meaning.

Without correct punctuation, we can get confused about the direction of the sentences, so "...punctuation marks are the traffic signals of language: they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop.” ― Lynne Truss

Editing for Beginners and We're All Beginners

When it comes to editing, we are all beginners. We stay beginners. We take the time to study our writing like a beginner - with interest and deliberately.

If we don't approach each article from that perspective, we can create the illusion that we wrote it so well, it doesn't need more than a cursory glance.


So, what are some basic editing tasks that will guarantee a better-finished product?


Justin Alcala makes an excellent point that, “A good editor can make a respectable writer remarkable, just like a good parent helps a child become amazing.”

Approach editing as the icing on the cake, with a goal to make it as refined and presentable as possible.

And, if you happen to be stuck in bed for a few days, write and edit by hand.

There's lessons in that exercise as well, and if you eat cake, don't worry about the crumbs. I didn't.

© 2015 Marilyn L Davis


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    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Kristen; thank you. I'm still not 100% and have to get caught up on reading and well, yes, writing. You are on my "to-do" list....I'll get there eventually. ~Marilyn

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub on how to edit well and get better at it. Very inspirational and useful. Voted up!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Ann; I also like double spacing and often print in an odd color - green or purple. They just "glow" and I can see more mistakes. Thanks for your comment. ~Marilyn

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Hope the pain and the bruises disappear fast! I like your upbeat approach to editing etc. It's all so true; we need to proof-read, spell-check, edit like mad over and over and then get someone else to do it too!

      I find double spacing works well for me. Changing colour is a good idea and often larger print makes it easier to notice mistakes.

      Great hub; an amusing slant on the writing business.


    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Say Yes to Life; valid points in your comment. Self-editing is difficult. I'll love for us to set up some type of edit exchange as I know most of us can't hire anyone....Thanks for stopping by. ~Marilyn

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Sorry to hear about your injury! Hope you get well soon!

      Self-editing is tough! A few years back, I was fortunate to be in a writing workshop, where we critique each other's work. Others were able to point out features they didn't understand that I had assumed everyone knew about. That's a mistake we all make, because we see things from our own point of view. I think it's best to have others edit your work, while you edit theirs. The more, the better. "It takes a whole village to raise a child."

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, manatita44; thanks for stopping by and the comment. I do like the Panda story as well. Or the ""Lets eat grandma" one, also. Punctuation does make a difference. ~Marilyn

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Bill; I can't remember the last time I saw an error in yours.....mending daily and hope to find a more comfortable position for my leg next week. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Hoping that you get well soon. Nice Panda story, and in the main Hub lots of writing angles to think about. Much peace.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I hope you mend quickly and feel better soon. As for least ten times myself, and then I turn it over to friends....and then we still miss things. LOL I don't feel bad, though, because rarely do I pick up a book from the library that has no errors in it.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Will; thanks. Healing daily and sitting is getting easier, too. I appreciate your reading and comment. ~Marilyn

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent Hub, and may you have a swift and complete recovery!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, DJ; I've got a lap top and I just do not like it. I like substantial...keyboards, keys, my forward and backward delete buttons on it....oh the list goes on. That was the other thing about this incident; how I connected differently with pen and paper. Had forgotten the sense of accomplish ment I felt when I filled a page - just continuing to scroll down without a guide (I never turn that feature on) just isn't as rewarding.

      I'm doing what the doctor said, and I've got permission to sit as I can for two hours a day, so that's why this one took me 4 days.

      There's some good books on editing. Check both Amazon and Good Reads and see what's out there. I also still frequent my library. Do you have one close to you?

      Thanks for coming by, reading the well-wishes. ~Marilyn

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, pstraubie; thanks for your comment. It's a minor setback as my father would say, and then he would follow that up with, so what can you do?

      Sometimes the limitations prompt a whole different train of thought and I did reflect on all who came before, so it's been nice to read some of my old writing books and remember. I would not have taken the time had I not been laid up....that silver lining as they say.

      Thanks for the angels, also. ~Marilyn

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Marilyn, I am so sorry to hear of your accident.

      I have heard of others working on an I-Pad or Tablet.

      Maybe, it's time to invest in one and you can use it anyplace

      where you find comfort. You could follow your doctor's orders

      and stay in bed.

      I am writing my novel on "Word". It catches typos and incorrect

      grammar. I have learned to never trust my editing as I make mistakes

      coming and going. Still at some point, I am going to need an amazing

      editor. Still, much is left to write before I get to that point.

      I enjoyed your article.

      Hope you are feeling better soon.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      I like it..there is a simplicity to writing as you say

      and those annoying typos and editing errors are for the birds. I am blind in one eye and can't see out of the other so I do find them even after I have read read and read once again.

      Hoping you recover soon and without finding yourself in a prone position as I too would find that not a good thing and it surely would stifle my creativity.

      Angels are winging their way to you this afternoon ps