“[T]ake chances, make mistakes, get messy!” (Magic School Bus)
Do you tend to focus most on your grammar and mechanics when you self-edit? I do.
I want to offer you some questions and ideas that will help to get you out of the “grammar cop” mode and into a more reflective mood.
Writing instructor. I compiled this list of questions as a writing instructor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I offered these questions to my students to help them in their revision process with their papers.
I’m not sure where I got most of these reflective questions. Writing instructors tend to do a lot of “academic borrowing.” If you teach, you know exactly what I mean.
Professional writer. I also try to remember to ask myself the following questions when I’m reflecting on my own work, so I won’t be so critical of my own work. I tend to be a bit of a self-deprecating perfectionist at times.
I offer the questions and ideas to reflect on your work. I hope it will encourage you to tell the stories that matter most to you. So, let me know if they help you. [You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.]
Consider these questions/ideas as you reflect on your next project:
- Who do you imagine might be the audience for this story? (Self, parent, child, writing group, etc.) What details did you include for your audience?
- What feelings and reactions did you have as you were writing the story? What surprises? What insights? What have you done or what might you do that would capture those feelings, reactions, insights?
- What do you think this story means to you? Have you shown what the story means to you in the writing of it? What have you done? Where and what might you do?
- Pose questions you wonder about this story or that emerge from this story. What do you need to know in order to complete this story?
- How would you revise this story? Write a plan for your revision.
- What did you learn about yourself from writing this story? What did you learn about writing from writing this story? What did you learn about writing from reflecting on this story?
What reflective questions do you ask yourself when you revise your work?