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How to Increase Integrity in Your Writing

When it comes to business, having integrity is critical. If clients don’t believe you’re true to your word, your business suffers. 

But how does integrity play a role in your writing? 

Here’s my take: If you wouldn’t say a particular word when speaking, you shouldn’t use it in your writing, either. 

Just as it does in business, a lack of integrity in writing can come back to bite you. 

When I was still teaching at the college, I once participated in a plagiarism case. I’ll never forget the student whose work was examined. 

After reading her essay, our committee was unanimous that it couldn’t have been her own work (her regular teacher was very familiar with her in-class writing, and this wasn’t it). Still, we gave her the benefit of the doubt. 

As the student sat across the table from us, we each asked a question about the essay. When it was my turn, I said, “In this sentence, you write: ‘the...

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Notwithstanding (Why You Must Sound Like You in Your Writing)

I was there as a tourist, so to speak. My roommate was asked to lecture on her area of expertise (set design) to a university class, and I was there to provide feedback and emotional support. 

I was excited to hear her since I loved everything to do with drama and had always dreamed of becoming an actor.

(That dream was shattered once I actually got a bit part in a play and had to repeat the exact same lines four nights in a row. Phantom of the Opera cast, how did you not lose your sanity?!).

I sat in the front row (because that’s what keeners do), ready to take notes. 

My friend appeared, dressed in a knee-length pencil skirt and blouse buttoned up to her neck. She looked like Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Except normally, she wore long, floor-length flowing skirts covered in bright flowers and embroidery, cowboy boots, chunky hand-knit sweaters, hair long and loose. 

The class fell silent. And then, she began. 


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It Didn't Even Sound Like Her

It certainly wasn't the way I would have done it. 

I took an online course with a well-known author, who shared his writing process and how he had written three bestselling novels. 

Someone asked about how he revised: did he rewrite directly on the page, or use the first file as a template to then rewrite the content elsewhere?

He did neither.

“I use my first draft as a way to really discover what it is I want to say,” he told us. “I actually find my story and characters while writing. Then, when it’s time to revise, I don’t even look at the first draft again. I just write the novel from scratch as it now exists in my head.”

Wow. Seemed like a lot of work!

My own method couldn’t be more different. I might begin a draft and then revise certain scenes along the way, most often before the entire manuscript is even completed. Further revisions follow.

When I hired a book coach, her approach was different still.


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