WRITING TIP: Getting specific

writing tipsMost people tend to think in categories and generalities, and these often come through in a freewrite, where we might say “tree” when it was actually a cedar, willow, or birch, or we might say “insect” when it was a dragonfly, black ant, or black widow spider. Much of the deeper meaning of our work will come through in the details. Keep this in mind as you freewrite, and after you finish, go through and look for the places where you used a generality, then reflect on which specific word would bring more clarity and vividness. This is not to say that generalities are wrong–but their use is often unconscious, and this is a way of bringing mindfulness to your use of language so that you have a choice rather than limiting your expression by acting out of habit.