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I don't dwell on grammar in my classes for the simple reason that if you follow my Turbocharge Your Writing formula, your grammar will automatically improve. Studies have shown that when you let go of your obsession with editing, you'll naturally write material that adheres to the rules of grammar.

Still, support is available.

First, I suggest you use a computer grammar checker.

Second, you can always call for help. There are grammar hotlines around the country.

TAKE A BREAK

Put your writing away for three days to three weeks. Get some distance between you and your work. Why? Because you'll see your writing with clear eyes after you've looked elsewhere for a while.

This doesn't mean you get to take a vacation after every draft you write. Instead, begin a NEW writing project. Just quit working on this one for a while.

Have you ever gotten to see a letter you wrote a few months after you had sent it? I have. And I've been amazed at the typos and ambiguous sentences I've seen. When I read the letter right after writing it, I "saw" what I knew was supposed to be there. But later on, days or weeks or months down the road, when I had the chance to see the letter again, all my errors were obvious.

Take a break—even 15 minutes—and then return to editing your work.

CUT AND PASTE

Before I had a computer I would type out my drafts, cut out each paragraph, and then shuffle them into new piles. Each stack was related by theme or idea or character. Then I'd retype the article from the new arrangement. It worked every time.

Your first draft isn't written in stone. You can change the order, delete entire sections, write entire new ones, cut and paste to your heart's content. No one will be the wiser.

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