Slimming Down for Summer: 3 Tips to Trim Your Writing

We are all trying to fit into that cute bathing suit that we purchased on clearance back in winter. We try all the quick slimming down fixes we can think of, but we know, in the end, they won’t work. Losing weight doesn’t take a 5 minute time window and neither does a quality paper. Slimming down to your goal weight is no different than striving for that “A” paper—you have to work at it, and then work at it some more. How? Here are three tips to trim, trim, trim through revision.

1. Silent Reading: Are you making too much noise?

writing tips

Vet tech student, Siovhan, helps Jodie Liedke, general education instructor, trim her dress of 'papers' just like a writer should carefully revise their work to 'slim down for summer.'

Remember silent reading time in grade school? For 15-20 minutes each day you would read a book you brought to school.  We all enjoyed doing this because we read what we liked. It is no different when you are in college. Students should spend half of their time reading their own work. Cari Bower, a Globe University-La Crosse student in the vet tech program, agrees saying, “I re-read it twice [and] make changes.”

If you find out you are not enjoying it, chances are your reader won’t either. You need to mold your writing into a representation of you. Trim highfalutin (pompous) language. It is like putting on too many accessories to cover up those extra pounds: five bangle bracelets, rings on each finger, dangling earrings, and a big beaded necklace will make you end up looking like a Christmas tree in June.

2. Mirror, Mirror: Is your writing the fairest of the all?

Would someone think you are a bit odd if they caught you reading your paper to your bathroom mirror? Of course! But, do they have to hand in a perfect paper, so they pass a course? No. Read your work aloud to yourself. It will force you to hear what you’ve written, and better yet, see, because you are your audience. 

“I try and read it backwards and dissect each paragraph,” says Siovhan Katherine, a vet tech program student. By reading backwards, it forces students to look at the writing from a different point of view. It is no different than if you lived the majority of your life without out a full-length mirror, and then at 32 you see yourself fully for the first time and realize that those capri pants really don’t do your body justice—you take the length up and, abracadabra, you look trim and taller.

3. Take It To the Stage: Did you get a standing ovation?

Are you auditioning for a role when you read your papers aloud to others?  You bet you are! Each writer has an audience. Find yours and act it out. Or, do a role reversal and have someone else read your work to you and you be the director.

“Sometimes I will have my husband read it to me just to make sure everything makes sense and flows,” says Vicki Bryant, business administration degree student.

Another’s opinion and support is crucial to your success. When you really want that second helping of cheese cake or you really don’t feel like running, who motivates you to keep you on track? It’s not always you—haha! Get many second opinions. Just because that salesclerk swears you look fabulous in that 80s inspired dress, doesn’t mean you really do. Rely on those close to you, like family and friends; they will tell you the truth about your writing.

Slimming down for summer is not an easy task and neither is trimming your own writing. Sometimes you just get tired of looking at it. Try something new and read it like you want it to be a best seller; read it from a new point of view; read it to someone close to you, and chances are you will reach your goal and make a show-stopping splash this summer.

This post was written by Jodie Liedke. Liedke, a true Wisconsinite, having labored four summers in a mozzarella factory, received her BA from Lakeland College and her Masters in Fine Arts from Wichita State University in Kansas.  Liedke is the General Education and Service-Learning Coordinator, a Creative Quill and Writing Across the Curriculum lead, and the adviser/instructor for GLUWW (Globe La Crosse Writers Write). When not writing creatively, Liedke enjoys watching films, exploring the outdoors, and biking.