Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Writing Jumpers

Why I called this article “Writing Jumpers”

When we write we can liken the process to the jumpers in our wardrobe. We will have cheaper, every day jumpers, expensive jumpers for best, and maybe a few that have been hand knitted of variable quality and use.

The cheap market stall jumper

Most of us will have written some  quick blog type posts. These are akin to a diary entry. They don't say anything of lasting value. It might just be something like "Hi guys, here is the new day. Let's do something amazing with it. I am  having toast for breakfast on the veranda."

It is easy enough to tell the world you have had tea and toast for breakfast and you may well do it well. However, the information is of passing interest.

 It is a bit like going to the market and buying a cheap jumper. It does the job. It may not last long, but it may be around in your wardrobe for a while.

Sometimes you get a real bargain and the cheap jumper turns out to be very useful because for some reason that short comment earns you more than you expected.

In the same way, a short post, knocked up in haste for a “writer’s website,” may very occasionally do you proud. However, most will be quickly forgotten and discarded unless you take them out of the wardrobe and do something with them.

Recycling the jumper

A cheap jumper can be turned into an expensive looking one if you put some effort in. The sleeves might need to be longer, you might make cuffs, you might put a bit of your best embroidery round the edges and in the end, your cheap jumper or rather your quick post might turn into something else.

You expand on the information you originally gave and drop the chat. Your next post is about ideas for special breakfasts on the veranda and includes your recipe for marmalade. The post becomes useful in a different venue because it is now relevant to a cookery blog.

This is not by the way, the same as article spinning because you take your initial idea and work on it to create a longer and better article. Your finished product should bear no resemblance to the quick short post you originally made.

Your original thought is a starting point for a better article.

Some of the things we right have a lot of mileage. We can become specialists in the topic. They are your like the jumper you wear most days.

The Everyday Writing Jumper

Somewhere in your wardrobe you probably have two or three jumpers that you wear over and over again. They are your every day, useful jumpers. When you write there are probably topics that you find you can return to to make reasonable length posts and articles.

For example, I write about Christianity a lot (though mainly on my own blogs) and childcare and the cat. These are topics I actually know something about. I can come at them from lots of different angles and produce good articles in a short space of time because I have a knowledge base to work from.

When you have time to work on an article you might turn your attention to something that requires more research and detail. It isn't easy to do that every day so you save this for when you can put out your very best efforts. That is like wearing the best jumper in your wardrobe for a special occassion.

Very best writing jumpers

The very best writing you do will be like your very best jumper. You will want to keep and treasure it and it will be of lasting value.

You cannot knit your best jumper while you are still learning

I once learned to knit. My first efforts were not great, but I persevered and as I improved I was finally able to make a very complicated jumper.

Don't lost your best jumpers

I was proud of that jumper and wore it, and basked in the admiration of those who saw it. I loved that shawl and it lasted a long time. I think it is still in my wardrobe somewhere. I may get it out again this Summer. The same may be said of your best blogs or articles. Remember:

There is no harm in republishing links to a good post.

There is a skill to writing and to creating jumpers

Learning to write is a skill that improves over time. The best things you write, the ones that will last, are likely to be the articles that you spend time on, allowing yourself to include the advice you are given on how to make your writing the very best it can be.

Recycling a jumper is like re-editing

You may have to unravel your beloved piece over and over again until it is right, you allow people to point out where the stitches have been dropped, (these people are called editors,) and you are willing to spend the time to make that article as perfect as it can be. You do the same when you learn to knit. You unravel that jumper, if you go wrong, until it is as well made as you can get it.

You can take your best writing jumper to the fashion show

This is the article you can parade like your best jumper. It is the one you refer to (or hopefully more than one,) when someone asks you what you write. It is the evening best jumper of the writing world. The jumper with all the pearls and sequins and glitter on that you would love wear for everyday, but you cannot because you have to take care of the jumper and put it in all the right places.

Be patient and wait for the right place to place this kind of writing jumper. It is too valuable to give away. Search diligently for the best place to keep it because you know that you have worked hard and have something of value to show off to the world. In other words, send that one to the publisher and hope to see it in print.

The good thing about making a best writing jumper

When you create your best writing jumper and take care of it, then you have probably also created your best learning tool for writing all those other lesser writing jumpers. You will find even your short blog posts improve because you have worked to become not just a writer of blogs, but a writer who knows their craft. It is worth taking the time to learn how to make the best articles because what you write, even quick posts will be improved.

I challenge you to learn to write a best writing jumper

Yes, it will take time to write that best writing jumper. You will find you cannot do things you have always done and that there is a way to write things. You may have to think more about grammar, spelling, form, style and all sorts of things that you have never bothered much about, but you will be so glad when you see yourself in print that you gave time to the learning process and the end result will, like my very best shawl, be admired.

Are you up to the Writing Jumper Challenge?

If you are up for the challenge, here is something to get your teeth into: George Orwell’s Guide to Writing Well
Are you up for the challenge. You might spend the time learning how to knit, but are you up to the challenge of creating a best writing jumper, or preferably a lot of extremely well written articles?