This is sound advice. You know that saying “can’t see the forest for the trees?” Well that is my problem when I write; sometimes things get lost between the brain and the pen but I’m oblivious to it.
For me, writing is like watching a private movie inside my head where I see the action and hear the dialogue. This means that forgetting a word doesn’t always register because my brain fills in the missing parts. That is dangerous.
There are two techniques I use to combat this problem (am I the only one?), the first is to read OUT LOUD to myself. I find this is one of he best ways to catch mistakes and to see if the dialogue and wording fit. Sometimes what looks good on paper doesn’t sound right when spoken and this is a great way to catch it. It also allows me to hear the words in a cadence-like fashion. If it sounds choppy or if it sounds like “writing” rather than an internal voice inside my head, then that’s a sure sign it’s crap – at least it is for me. This is one technique I find helpful, but it doesn’t catch the big stuff like plot holes and impossible or stupid scenarios.
The Second technique I use is to “save it for later.” That means I walk away. I know writers who cringe at this idea, but letting go of the work for a few days, weeks, or even months can really make a difference and once you do this you might be surprised at the results – I know I am. There are times when I look at the writing and think “what the hell was I thinking?” And then there are times when I think – “HOLY CRAP! I wrote that and it’s freakin’ awesome!”
This technique is a great way to find those plot holes or realize you’ve just made your character walk out the door and find him still in the room two sentences later. Reading after you’ve been away from the writing can be pretty scary, but it’s worth it to let it go for a few weeks. There have been times I have come back to a story that I believed was just about done only to realize I would have to rewrite a few hundred lines to fix the holes. It also allows me to cut out the unnecessary crap that crawls into my chapters. By becoming my own reader I can look at a work subjectively which is a pleasant surprise sometimes, and sometimes I’m just disgusted – but apparently I’m typical of every other writer in that respect.
Another benefit to saving it for later is that it allows me to work on a new project or go back to a previous work. This creates some space between my writing and (when I’m not busy being lazy or obnoxious on the social networks) allows me a sort of routine. It’s not a perfect fix – the drawback is that you (meaning me) can get complacent and walk away from something for a longer period of time than necessary and that can kill the spark of inspiration.
Writing is different for everyone, and it’s initially a solitary endeavor no matter how many experts you call or beta readers you badger, and each writer has their own ideas about writing, I just wanted to share mine with you.