Writing is No “Tiptoe through the Tulips”

In a creative writing class many years ago, a college professor looked at us – a bunch of 19 and 20-year-olds struggling to put words on paper – and said something to the effect of: “Writing is not difficult. Just look within and let the words spring forth.”

Hahaha. BAHAHAHA.

As if writing was as effortless as tulips emerging from the ground each spring. In reality, that latter process is not easy. Not one bit. Perennial bulbs such as tulips require enormous energy, and often care, to successfully bloom again and again each year….

March 2018 … Certainties … Uncertainties. Or, plowing through (with some Women’s History Month inspiration).

The first day of March began with clouds and ended with rain.

The second day of March began with rain and ended with
snow and lots of horizontally-blowing wind.

The third day of March began with clouds and ended with sunshine.

This much is undeniable, because those three days are already history. But what would the remainder of March’s first week bring? How about the second, third or fourth? At the time of this writing, questions bursting with uncertainty.

Uncertainty is disquieting. Uncertainty is paralyzing. It’s much easier to put the thoughts of what-might-happen aside … along with so much else….

Planning to write a blog. Planning to view totality. (Similarities? Totally!)

I geek out about many things.

The need for an apostrophe before the last “s” in a word (singular possessive: “the cat’s kittens”) or after (plural possessive: “the cats’ kittens”). A perfect cup of hot tea. Any episode of Star Trek TOS (The Original Series, for you neophytes). Terrific historical fiction and non-fiction. Almost anything science-related and explainable in lay-person terms … including this year’s nationwide craze over the first total solar eclipse to traverse the continental United States since 1979!

I toyed with totality for a whole year. All (excuse the pun) the stars aligned: the eclipse took place on third week in August, our usual time for family summer vacations; my son’s camp ended the previous Friday; and the eclipse was going over the East Coast!

Planning the excursion was similar to the writing and editing process for any article or blog….

Typos in the pre-digital age. Or, why proofing your work matters then … AND now.

Think back to a high school or college writing assignment. Term paper, book report … anything, really. Did you get dinged for typos? (Shorthand for typographical errors, in case you were wondering.) Does a particularly egregious error come to mind?

Allow me to get this conversation going, with an embarrassingly cringe-worthy example out of my own not-so-recent past….

Crosswords are tremendous! Or, expand your word horizons.

Those “dog days” of August summer have arrived, with a head index of 105 degrees today. Stepping outside into this figurative blast furnace brought mental images of my mind – and plans for inspired writing discourse – boiling to a liquefaction halt.

Now back in air conditioned heaven, I’m trying, trying to reform coherent thoughts. To flex those writing muscles to ensure they aren’t completely atrophied from the relentless heat and humidity….

Writing and Editing as Art and Science

In late April my third-grader received homework relating to the elementary school’s annual “Science Matters Day”: explaining how music and sound relates to science.

We are a household of science buffs, so with customary gusto my son and I scoured the internet for sources that could inform his answer….

(Writing) Truth in Fortune Cookies

Once a month my family goes to Chez Elena Wu for Wednesday night dinner. Reasons:

● It’s two minutes from my husband’s office.
● Mom’s weeknight cooking break.
● Wonton soup.
● Soft-shell crabs permanently on the menu!
● Fortune cookies.
● Fortune cookie fortunes…

To know what you REALLY wrote? Record, replay, LISTEN!

Back in July on LinkedIn, I shared the following 10-step technique for out-loud proofreading that works with any and all types of copy:

1. Print out a copy of your writing.
2. Grab your favorite pen.
3. Read aloud to yourself slowly…