You’re going to say “But I know that!”
People always do.
But then, when they need to write something, they don’t do these things.
And the end result is weaker than it could have been…
So pardon me, but I’m going to write about this anyway.
To be reminded of the three neglected secrets of writing better in Italian, read on!
How to become a ‘real’ photographer
No, really. This is relevant.
I learnt this from a girlfriend, about a quarter of a century ago.
She was taking photography at college and used to fill our bathroom with noxious chemicals. This was back in the day when you actually had film in cameras.
Anyway, what she did was take dozens, hundreds of images for each of her projects, then develop these long strips of film in our bathroom, which was converted to a darkroom for the purpose.
Anyone needing to pee had to wait, as opening the door would let light in and ruin everything.
Later, she’d examine the strips of film against a really bright light to pick out the few images which were closest to what she had in mind.
She’d then print the best ones onto photographic paper, which would be hung up to dry on a clothes line.
Finally, she’d show the ‘good’ images around to get some feedback, before picking just one or two to add to her portfoglio.
When I took photographs, I always got them developed by professionals, and kept the lot because of the cost involved.
So it was pretty obvious who was the ‘real’ photographer, and who wasn’t.
And not just because of the fumes in the bathroom.
Before writing anything more than a shopping list, get down a whole bunch of ideas on a piece of scrap paper.
Then pick out just your most relevant and interesting thoughts to include in the text.
Or direct your own movie…
Enough with darkrooms.
Maybe you’d prefer something more, well, dynamic, as a metaphor?
Directing a film, perhaps.
Now obviously, you’ll have a script to work from.
But film directors get a lot of freedom to tell a story, so feel free to mess it about a bit.
For instance, you won’t necessarily want to start at the beginning, will you?
Perhaps your film will open with a speeding truck hurtling down a hill towards a crowd of young children leaving elementary school on a sunny afternoon.
You’ll then briefly flash back to the moment when your main character first discovers he has the ability to run as fast as the speed of sound.
Next you’ll cut to him getting yelled at by his mom for burning out the soles of his sneakers.
And here we are again, at the instant our hero spies the careening vehicle…
It’s really up to you how you splice the scenes together to tell your story.
And to create the maximum entertainment!
Imagine the chaos on set if you had no ‘shooting schedule’!
You’d waste millions having big name actors just sitting around while you squished elementary school kids with trucks.
It wouldn’t do at all.
Organise your text, whether it’s a story, an e-mail or a tripadvisor review, any which way you choose.
But you’ll get better results if you sketch out a plan BEFORE you start writing….
Why good writers are obsessive
You guessed it.
They’re not obsessive because they’re good.
They’re good because they’re obsessive.
They’re never satisfied.
They just KNOW they can do better.
The temptation to fix a phrase which doesn’t quite have the right rhythm is over-whelming to them.
Whole sections get moved around, or trashed.
The text is drafted and redrafted, read and re-read.
If it’s not been agonized over, it’s not done yet!
And even then, it could still be improved some.
O.K., so you not aiming to be a professional writer.
You would just like to write better in Italian.
But Italian is a foreign language.
Writing in a foreign language, by definition, is not easy.
And if you don’t aim for at least a couple of drafts, plus a final re-reading, you won’t be giving it your best shot.
(In which case, why bother?)
“I know that!”
So sign up for the new Italian writing course and let’s see you put it into practice!
More details right here.
Tomorrow, find out how I aced my essays at an Italian business school, even though my Italian was incredibly weak!