Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Focus on flow

The last several months, I've been thinking about flow.... mostly the flow of words. Getting the flow right is not as easy as it sounds.

I've been more guilty than most of writing sentences and paragraphs that were clunky. Whenever I tried to get clever and twist words to add interest, it often backfired.

When readers have to chug along, it's distracting. On the other hand, when the flow is right, sentences read as if they've been sprayed with WD40.

Jilda is my first reader and points out places where she gets bogged down. She often strikes eight or 10 words from every column I write.

One trick I've used which helped tremendously is the feature on my Mac that allows me to highlight text and have the computer read it back to me.

My computer uses the voice of an Australian female that reads my work. If a word is repeated too many times in paragraph, it sticks out like a red leisure suit.

In that way, improving a piece of writing is much like the art of whittling.

I've received a number of emails and Facebook messages over the past month from readers who point out that my columns seem to flow better now.

I think the focus on flow is paying dividends.


  1. I wonder if I can get that with Windows... I think that would be a valuable tool..

    I'll have to look at that this weekend...

    I love you write Rick, very precise an relaxed... and easy read :) (By the way, that is meant as a compliment :)

    1. Hey Luanna, I'd bet there is a similar feature on Windows. I know I love it. I think it's helped me become a better writer.
      Also, thanks for your kind words.

  2. I never have to chug along when reading your posts! I am consistently wowed by your words!

  3. You never disappoint, Always a line or two you cannot forget. I enjoyed the read and some instructions, but the line,"Sticks out like a red leisure suit.." is good. I did smile..

  4. You worry too fuckin' much.


    1. Language missy. I'll have to send you to the back of the class and insist you give me 50 pushups as my old drill sergeant used to say. Come to think of it, he cussed too.

  5. "Getting the flow right is not as easy as it sounds." That's correct: it sure isn't! But your writing flows quite well to me.

  6. Writing with a flow isn't easy but I wouldn't know about that. I do well getting my thoughts down on the screen or paper.


  7. I find your writing very enjoyable to read, so it must be working...because after years of reading student essays, which can sometimes be a challenge, if your writing was challenging to read, I wouldn't be reading this post today.


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