Five Hints It’s Time to Stop Writing (For a Few Minutes)

Sometimes I commit to too much writing work, particularly in my professional life. This post is to remind me (and other writers out there, too) to throw in the towel–even if I am on a deadline–before I let bad writing happen. I’ll write it in second person to let myself off the hook. Shrug. It’s my post.

If you catch yourself doing any of the following five things, take a break, ask for an extension, or go read a book until you are all fresh and inspired again:

1. Resorting to cliches – when you start the “crying over split milk” routine, it really “begs the question” why do I continue to write? Don’t. Stop right now. Go outside. Play. Think of a new way to say what you want to say.

2. Writing too generally – if the words “so forth” or “others” or “etc.” appear in your sentences, you are likely too tired, busy, or rushed to finish whatever it is you’re writing. Don’t force it. Give your writing time to be good, which means you need to be specific.

3. Repeating words – now I’m not talking about poetic repetition or assonance or any other literary device. No siree. I mean when you use the same word twice or more in a sentence or paragraph, because you aren’t taking the time to look up other words. That’s just lazy. You aren’t lazy are you? Then don’t repeat your words.

4. Using passive voice – you must be exhausted or crazy. Else you have bad grammar, but I don’t have the heart to believe that about you. Use active voice. Your sentences will thank you.

5. Questioning – this is a great technique when you aren’t sure what else to say. But you don’t want people to think you have nothing to say, do ya? I didn’t think so. Stop asking questions.

Oh, one more. Avoid listing things too much. The Internet loves them, but readers get tired of reading lists after awhile. On that note, I think I’ll wrap up this post. Good night, ya’ll!

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