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How to Edit Your Writing

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” – William Strunk, Elements of Style

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Quantity Before Quality

* This is another entry in our “Advice for Aspiring Writers” Series. “People tend to look at successful writers … and think that they sit down at their desk every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have… But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts.” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird If you want to become a better writer you must write relentlessly. Although this is not...

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Know Your Audience

* This is another entry in our “Advice for Aspiring Writers” Series. "Uncle Ed" at Thanksgiving. Courtesy of awkwardfamilyphotos.com Everyone on this planet shares some similar experience or knowledge, to an extent. There are things that we all have in common, despite wildly different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. But in everyday conversation, whether with someone from another part of the globe or Uncle Ed at the family Thanksgiving get-together, we can quickly begin locating the boundaries of our shared experience. There’s a reason why many casual conversations start with an awkward comment about the weather – everyone has something to say about it. However, not everyone shares your personal take on iOS vs. Android, your raw-vegan-paleo-ketonic-grain-free dietary philosophy, or your stance...

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5 Tips for Writing Well

During each issue’s editorial process, Mike, Jim, Megan, and I go round and round discussing better ways to articulate the ideas in our and our authors’ heads. We love word craft and always feel a sense of accomplishment when we polish each piece to clearly reflect the author’s voice and vision. Our authors come from many backgrounds and experiences. Many have been professional writers for years while others are just emerging onto the woodworking writer scene. Many of our newer authors develop their skills through blogging (as I did). There are a ton of great woodworking blogs out there (many of which you can find linked on our sidebar) but not everyone is as comfortable putting words onto paper or...

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Upcoming: Advice for Aspiring Writers

I moved slowly, advancing through the rough landscape in search of my elusive quarry. I could sense that I was close. A turn here, another there, and… Aha, found it! I uncapped my red pen with a satisfying pop and drew a red circle around the end of a sentence. Three words, linked together inseparably but missing that penultimate punctuation: The Oxford Comma. Another copy editing crisis averted. The world of drop caps and compound modifiers hasn’t exactly been my professional stomping grounds in the past, but I find the editing process to be among the most satisfying tasks in the life of M&T. We like to think of this as a team sport, with Megan, Joshua, Jim, and me...

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