Use your voice with an open mic!

open mic

Years ago, my uncle sent me Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several Short Sentences About Writing. Although it is designed to help students trained in academic writing “un-do” inhibiting habits learned over the years, I find some of his insights especially inspiring. Revision can feel daunting to many writers because they tweak small things endlessly, aren’t sure where to begin, or lose perspective on “what’s working” and “what’s not” in their own writing. I’ve developed some guiding questions and techniques that can help make revision fun and successful. Some of what I’ve designed is inspired by Klinkenborg’s thoughts on revision:

Finding flaws is how you learn to make better sentences.
Enjoy it.
You can’t prevent yourself from repeating a mistake you haven’t noticed.
You’ll have to read your work many, many times to find all the problems embedded in it.
Even experienced writers have to do this.
Some flaws do a wonderful job of hiding.

So, you’ll be revising each sentence as you compose it,
Composing each sentence as you revise it.
And you’ll read and reread every sentence you make many dozens of times,
Sifting out problems as they materialize in front of you.
You’ll be looking for flaws.
But also for opportunities—and for missed opportunities:
Things you might have said, ideas you might have developed,
Connections you might have made.

Revision isn’t only the act of composition.
Revision is thinking applied to language,
An opening and reopening of discovery,
A search for the sentence that says the thing you had no idea you could say
Hidden inside the sentence you’re making.

My experiment for January is a Hybrid Open-Mic webinar. Register now and get ready to play, practice, and be present in community with others as we grow our writing chops together. The Hybrid Open-Mic will gently formalize the experience of sharing and receiving feedback, without the “pecking order” of a performance or the “high stakes” of a workshop. Approximately 5 readers will read their work out loud to a live audience, for 5-7 minutes each. Between readings, I’ll respond with light feedback and critique, all with an eye toward considerate, yet truly useful, next steps to aid you in revision.

Feeling shy or uncertain about taking the leap? Can’t make the date but still want to participate? Worried about tech issues for a webinar? Still not clear on the what/why? Answers and details, plus your chance to register, are all linked HERE!

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