I'm delighted to have as my guest today, Brenda Haire, author, speaker as well as a life strategy and business coach. Her first book, Save the Butter Tubs!: Discover Your Worth in a Disposable World, is available now.
FREE, Easy Tool for Cleaner, Stronger Writing
Writers are people, and people have bad habits. Often those bad habits are blind spots. Ask any editor, and I’m sure you will get a long list of our bad habits.
If you want to save time and money in the editing process, start using “Find and Replace.” If you’re not familiar with this simple to use tool, it can be found under the “Edit” tab on most writing programs. If you’re already using it, read on for tips on what to “find and replace. ”
Open your current work-in-progress and click Edit, drop down to “Find” or “Find and Replace” depending on your program. Type in a word or symbol and get to work.
Let me share a few ways I used this with my last manuscript. I’m old school. I learned to type on a typewriter, and we were taught to double space after the period at the end of each sentence. Today, the majority of us are writing on programs that automatically adjust this space, and it is no longer common practice to double space. Unfortunately, for me, it’s still a bad habit.
To easily fix the problem, type in a period and a space in the “Find” field, and type in a period in the “Replace” field. If you’re comfortable with “replacing all” you can select that option or you can arrow through and change the ones you deem necessary. If you are old school, like me, you may have an abundance leaving “replace all” as your best option.
Weak Word Eliminator
My favorite way to use “find and replace” is to find weak words and replace them with stronger, more impactful words.
Here is a short list of words you should consider replacing: Really, Very, So, Some, Then, When, Sometimes, Many, Also, Help, Great, Usually, Probably
I’ll give you a quick example of two sentences, and you can decide for yourself.
Weak: If you are old school, like me, you might find many and “replace all” is your best option.
Stronger: If you are old school, like me, you may find an abundance leaving “replace all” as your best option.
This tool can make you a better story teller. “Find” words ending in “ly” to see if they are necessary. Using adverbs and adjectives positions the writer to tell the story rather than show it. Make the story come alive by showing, and give your reader freedom to use their imagination.
The word “that,” if eliminated, will not only clean your manuscript but save you money. If you can read the sentence, and it make sense without the word “that,” remove it! You’ll clean up your writing style and save money if your editor charges by the word!
Conjunctions, Contractions, Oh My
A conjunction is a word that connects phrases, words, or clauses. And, but, so, because are examples of conjunctions. While there is nothing wrong with using conjunctions, overuse is an issue. If your sentence is an entire paragraph long, you might have conjunctionitis. Again, use your “find” tool. Take out unnecessary conjunctions. This can make your writing a bit punchier and easier to understand. It can also guide you to look at your comma usage around the conjunctions, which is another common editing issue.
A contraction is an abbreviated version of a word or words. Contractions can be formed by replacing missing letters with an apostrophe. Can’t is short for cannot. Don’t is short for do not. Contractions not only shorten sentences, they can make them more casual. If that is the style you’re going for, by all means, leave them. If not, do a “find and replace.”
Here’s to sharpening our craft. Share your frequently used weak words in the comments, and let’s sharpen each other.
“Powerful. Inspiring. Personal. Vulnerable. I began reading Save the Butter Tubs on a recent flight, and I was so captivated by each page that I did not want the flight to end. Brenda has the unique ability to communicate as a writer and speaker through personal life stories. She helps you focus on your God-given potential rather than the many distracting limitations we face in life.”
— Alex Velarde, Lead Pastor, LifePointFC.com, Tyler, TX
Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2mmjdke
Connect with Brenda