I get into a trance state sometimes, and I feel as though the words just flow right out of my fingers and into the keyboard. Sometimes that sort of writing can be very good, but oftentimes when I reread it I find I am back to using the same old phrases and sentence structure. I used to push myself to write 5000 words a day when I was first starting out, but now I know that quality doesn’t always follow from quantity. These days I am lucky to write 5000 a week, but I think I have to do much less editing later on because I am much more careful about what I put down to begin with.

To help myself I have made a running list of words and phrases I want to avoid using if at all possible. It has helped me tremendously. With a good word processing program like MS Word, it is easy to use the find command to track down these annoying cliches, and then replace them with more imaginative prose. I don’t always catch them, and this is when having a writing buddy really helps. A fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference.

But one thing I have never been able to figure out–an acceptable synonym for the word shrug