Writing & Editing Tips #1

Let’s talk about brain fog. It’s the pits, right?

Every writer has experienced it at some point. During the writing process, it may manifest as an absence of thought—the fog obscures the next word, the next thought, the next scene. Helplessness sets in and frustration mounts.

If this happens, I suggest walking away for a little while. Stretch, get something to drink, take a shower—some of my best writing breakthroughs have occurred in the shower. Do whatever is needed to clear the mind, to blow the fog away, and return to work feeling settled and, hopefully, motivated.

During the editing phase, brain fog can look a little different. Instead of an absence of words, suddenly there’s too many! Eyes cross and brains melt. Things start to blur together. Separate words lose all meaning, sentences become paragraphs, and paragraphs become even longer paragraphs.

In some ways, I find editing and proofreading to be more frustrating than writing. The words are all there, yes, but making them behave can be tricky. Typos and grammatical errors are especially difficult because they’re so easily missed.

Our eyes become adjusted to seeing the same thing over and over. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve read the same paragraph numerous times and missed a misused homonym or misspelled word because my brain didn’t register it. It’s like they simply faded into the background and ceased to exist.

To counter this, I now change the font type and size whenever I’m ready to proofread something. Doing so has made it easier to catch those pesky typos and punctuation errors. How could it not, when they were staring back at me in font size 18?

Suggested font type? Comic Sans. Annoyance is a great motivator to get work done faster.

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