Revisit your writings for practice and improvement

I wrote a series on my Afternoon Tea blog that described my favorite childhood Christmas memories. I decided to revisit the stories and try to improve them — an exercise that made me cringe from finding a few spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. The blog wasn’t available to the public when I started; fortunately, it was only my family and friends who had to suffer through the reading.

But my goal is to become a better writer, and taking the time to revisit what I’ve written proved to be a useful way to spend some of my coveted writing time. I posted new and improved versions of those childhood memories, not only to practice writing, but also to contribute to Christmastime. You can read my Top 10 Childhood Christmas Memories series on Afternoon Tea.

Do you have writings to revisit? You might find it as valuable as I did to take another look at your work and see if there’s room for improvement. In the revisions to my Christmas stories, I reworded descriptions and threw out complete paragraphs; added details and cut out what was unnecessary, in hopes that my stories would read better.

I follow Advice to Writers on Twitter and enjoy reading the tweeted quotes that go out several times a day. Here is one that I loved, by author John Irving:

A writer’s job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as memories.

Though he speaks of fiction, I think that sentiment can apply to any type of writing. Writers can pour their hearts into whatever it is they write on any day and make that writing vivid to the reader. Vivid is a good word. According to Merriam-Webster, it means “producing a strong or clear impression on the senses” and “producing distinct mental images.” And isn’t that what we want to do for our readers? I sure do.

So, go ahead and pay a visit to some of your writings from a year ago, a month ago, or even yesterday. See if you can take them up a notch in a way that will delight and satisfy your reader.

Question: What advice do you have for freshening up past writings?


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