"What happened?" I inquired.
"In my effort to meet my deadline, I got lazy with my writing," she responded.
I ask you now the same question I posed to her then, "Do you have chronic case of lazy writer or is this just a sporadic episode?"
I can't be too hard on my client; I've been guilty of lazy writing as well. I think all writers go through periods of apathy and lethargy. Here are six signs of a Chronic Case of Lazy Writer.
- Don't edit thoroughly. They do a rough draft and a Word grammar and spell check without looking through the document for these common errors: passive writing, weak adverbs and adjectives; weak verbs; repetitions and redundancies, poor character development and dialogue, grammatical errors, spelling errors. While no edit can catch every mistake, lazy writers don't even bother looking.
- Expect the first draft to be good enough - and are ok with "good enough." Yes, you can write and publish a book in 90 days, but it probably won't be great; it probably won't even be good. It'll just be good enough. That's not okay with most writers.
- Don't read their writing out loud. I'm fascinated by how many writers neglect this step in writing. Reading your query, article, book, even e-mails, out loud, will reveal common errors.
- Plagiarize, quote too much from outside sources and overuse clichés. Lazy writers are unoriginal. It takes time to mull over research, paraphrase and verify sources. Lazy writers don't hassle with these things.
- Don't use every opportunity they are given to write and/or don't write enough. Lazy writer think free writes are a waste of time. They think they need large blocks of time to write anything worthwhile. Lazy writers don't make an effort to write at least a little every day. Passionate writers use every opportunity to write. Enough said.
- Don't care about their readers. Lazy writers just want to get the piece done and don't take the time to consider the work from the reader's perspective. Why do we do this? To say we've written something? To pontificate and brag to our friends? Or do we have something important to say and want to share it with others? I write every word for that one reader who will finish the piece, sigh and say something like, "I get it. That was wonderful. What should I do now?" Are you that one reader for this article?
The best cure for Chronic Cases of Lazy Writer – write often and edit your work even more often. It's a simple request, but it's not easy. Writing is hard work. Writing well is even harder and more time consuming. But if you have the tenacity it will pay off, not just in sales and with your readers, but in your personal pride in the craft we love.
Angela Dion is the owner of Dion Communications, LLC. To subscribe to her free e-magazine Write Words and get the free 9 page booklet, Write Killer Queries, go to http://www.dioncommunications.com/writewords.
Angela's mastery level class, Eight Steps to Successful Nonfiction Magazine Articles, starts this week at Write Well U/AuthorSmart?