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Out of Focus


By: Deb Buckingham, Contributing Editor

As someone who shoots people (I know where your mind went), I often think of ways to marry terms from various fields. Photography, for example.

Seems a little odd but, keep reading.

As a photographer, my job is keep the image in focus; a sharp, clear, and well-defined, “tack sharp” photo makes for a happy client, and for an image that’s clear and well-defined. In photography, the term “tack sharp” describes an image that shows the subject in sharp focus, with clean lines, and no blurring.

Photography is much like writing in that your “client” is your “audience”. You want them to feel all the feels and know that you, the author, can create a story that’s balanced and “in focus”. Not blurry.

When you think of your current writing project, whether that be an article, short story or novel, do you feel it’s tack sharp? Are there some blurry areas? My piece of work may be sharp (in focus), but the details are blurry, unfocused, and indistinct, until I flesh it out.

Let’s play with this a minute.

Writing has key components we all know…focusing on a clear, manageable central idea, organizing your writing with a well-defined arrangement of material, your word choice is sharp and accurate, your spelling and grammar has been cleaned up, your use of technical terms and proper names is used intentionally, and you’ve left your reader with a sense of completion.

You, the writer, have the hard job of putting all these components together to create an in focus piece of work. Am I right?

Do you see where I’m coming from? Why I thought marrying the terms of photography with the writer in mind was a good thing? So, what is your job as a writer?

Let’s define writer: a person who has written a particular text, according to the dictionary. A writer is someone who writes. Obvious answer, I know, but it could mean a novel, an article, a short story, a blog post. All of which I mentioned above. It doesn’t matter, really, just that a writer writes. Right?

I have found in all my years of writing, whether that be any of the ways above, that to be in focus, I need to begin out of focus. We all begin out of focus. It’s something that creates a path for us and gives us direction. It’s something that allows us the freedom to start in one way (out of focus) and create a piece of work that ends (in focus). A way to write with intention.

And, that’s ok. Everyone does it.

Beginning with your work out of focus; your job is to put it in focus. Are you still with me?

Finding your voice in writing is one way to make for a more in focus piece of work. It reminds me of The Voice where contestants are asked to make a song their own by not just doing a karaoke version. That’s boring and not original. Voice is something that will allow you to focus on your material and allow you to be YOU. It’s a time to shine and create that piece of work that’s your own.

You might think I’ve veered off the rail road track with the voice comment, but honestly, it’s the way in which you write that gives your voice a comprehensive, well-defined, and clear piece of work.

In Focus. That’s where you want to be!

Deb Buckingham headshotContributing Editor Deb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.

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