I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I qualify that because looking around my house, you wouldn’t know it. Perfectionist isn’t to be confused with OCD, though I fall prey to that on occasion. I am, however, a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing.
Finding the right word delights me. I can spend hours poring over my work, reading and perfecting. Sometimes, I find things that shock me – as I did with something I read over a couple days ago. There were bits and pieces in there that sounded as if they’d been written by someone else. I was appalled. Needless to say, I fixed it immediately.
As compulsive as I am with being precise in written form, I am equally precise when I speak. I found out long ago that being precise leaves the speaker in a stronger position. This has come in handy as a teacher and parent. Try as they might, they will try to get around it, but if I’ve said exactly what I mean, it’s much harder to creatively interpret it. Giving them very little wiggle room has saved me a lot of grief.
Treat your readers the same way. Be exact and say what you mean. Do not be vague. Try not to leave your readers guessing. Why? Because otherwise your message is lost and the audience is confused. Choose words carefully. Keep your voice strong and don’t be repetitive. Keep it simple, avoiding long, flowery passages. These may amuse the author, but a reader loses interest. Describe things fully, but don’t over describe. Many readers are put off by long, descriptive passages. Find a balance between dialogue and narrative.
In fact – be a perfectionist.