After reading Bird by Bird, I am now reading On Writing by Stephen King. And it’s making me think about my writing.
I’m a lazy writer. I don’t proofread, I don’t edit, I don’t even plan much outside my head. I just write. It’s never been a problem for me.
Reading King (and in parallel, Anne Lamott’s Rosie, which is so beautifully written it makes me want to drop everything and write my life away) is making me think about my style. There are a certain number of things I do that bother me, and that I don’t seem to manage to do differently. (Though, as I said, I’m a lazy writer — if I actually put a little effort into changing things, maybe I would.)
As you’ve certainly noticed if you read this blog, I overuse dashes and parentheses. I always have. I think it’s because my way of thinking is digressive. I start on something, and have to add some little explanative digression before going on. I do that when I talk, too. I start a sentence or an explanation, stop mid-way through, and add some extra background information that’s needed to understand what’s left of the sentence or explanation.
Anyway, I’m not trying to find excuses. It annoys me that I do that, and I think it probably makes what I write more cumbersome to read than it could be.
Another thing I’m guilty of is long sentences. Sometimes I feel they just want to go on and on and on and on and then I catch myself and chop them in half. I also think I use too many words. I’m not a very concise writer. I ramble. Like I’m doing now.
So I’ll let you go and read something else while I go and write a shitty first draft of something that I’ll never show anybody.
Are there any of my bad writing habits which bug you when you read me?