Writing Tip of the Day: Stop and Smell the Roses

I’m no poet.  I never had much interest in being one.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t admire a poetic turn of phrase.

Sometimes, writing a prose novel becomes an exercise in accidental poetry.  The writing is really coming to you and then all of a sudden a phrase finds its way into your fingers that makes you pause.  You realize: Huh, not bad.  That actually sounds real nice and clever.  It sounds like the real deal, but it doesn’t feel like the real deal purely because it felt like an accident.

I like stumbling upon a great sentence (whether or not it’s an accident), but on certain days, no matter where I stumble, that great sentence is just too hard to find.

On such days I recommend the stop and smell the roses method.  Sometimes it’s good to just stop and spend an hour or an afternoon or a day finding the perfect few phrases.  Not the right phrases.  Not really good phrases.  The perfect ones.  We prose writers may not be poets, but we are still writers, and prose doesn’t have to be the opposite of poetry.

That’s not to say you are writing junk on every other occasion.  Nonetheless, do you always work on the wording like a true madman?  We can say that we do, but we know that great poets can spend weeks or months or years on a poem of a few lines.  Do we devote the same energy to each word of an 80,000 word novel?

If you’re bored with your story, if you feel like a change of pace, of if you just want to try it out–take a few hours and pick a moment that needs a bit of linguistic majesty.  Then prove to yourself that you can find the perfect words.  Regularly doing this might make that accidental stumbling a bit less accidental.

Buy my work


  1. says:

    July 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    The latest clash occurred in Hotan Prefecture, in the southern part of Xinjiang, whose population is predominantly Uighur. The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking group sharing many affinities with people across Central Asia, and most follow relatively moderate forms of Sunni Islam. Many Uighurs resent the growing number of Han Chinese people, who have been attracted to Xinjiang by jobs in farming, energy production and mining.

  2. says:

    July 9, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Unfortunately, those people suffering from chronic back pain and depression may not get the proper diagnosis.
    Many people suffer back pain at one point or another through out their lives.
    Physical therapy generally involves stretching, strengthening and exercising the back in a safe and gentle manner.

  3. says:

    August 6, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Up until that time in my life I had lived in the Northeast, so fire ants were
    simply something that I saw on the Discovery Channel.
    What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working,
    is take the hoseand stuff it down the back of my wet suit.
    One thing I will say right off the bat is the kits available from Drip Depot are
    a great start to getting an irrigation system set up and they have all
    the parts separately for more.

  4. says:

    December 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    However, this begs the question: Will an MBA help you get
    into law school. While brokers maintain individual books recording the
    entire amount of buy and sell orders transacted by their clients, the act of clearing these transactions
    is handled by DTC. Robbins, Tunkey, Ross, Amsel, Raben,
    & Waxman, among the finest Miami Criminal Defense
    Attorneys, have served the community for years by providing experienced legal defense to criminal charges
    involving drug crimes.

  5. says:

    January 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very
    forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me.

    Thanks, quite nice post.

  6. says:

    April 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over
    that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly
    again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this

  7. says:

    May 27, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established
    blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I
    can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating
    my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
    Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>