Drafting Versus Editing

I made a tumblr post forever ago that stated simply, “I’d be a much better writer if I wrote as much as I talked about writing.”

After all.
Writers Write.
They don’t talk about what they are writing.
They don’t sit in one place and dream about what they could be writing.
They turn off the Candy Crush. They turn on the word processor. They start pecking away.

This universal and oft-repeated truth is one of the hardest things to do. Writing, in short, is hard. People who don’t write think it’s easy. They expect that their writer friend or co-worker can just spit out amazing things because hey, they are a writer and that’s what they do.

Another repeated and true thing is that writing is re-writing. I never, in my life, have been able to pull exactly what I want in a story out from my brain the first time around. In fact, that first stage when our intrepid author-wanna-be is throwing words onto the document sheet and piling them up is my most hated and reviled part of the process. Nothing I say in a rough draft ever fits what I picture in my mind. Its only in the re-writing and fixing process that I start to find that beautiful idea that I had months ago.

In Editing, I look at the lump of clay that I have clawed out of myself and I begin to cut away the imperfections. I accentuate what I wanted to focus on, strengthen the weaknesses, and slowly bring out the concept that had me typing away in the first place.

Finally, everyone’s process is different. I am a sprinter. I will write thousands of words for  months at a time…and inevitably life will interrupt me as I attempt to keep my writing habit fed…and I will fall disastrously off the daily writing habit. I once was dormant for years. Then, as the need became greater, months and most recently, weeks.

I look forward to the day when I have beaten that cycle and can keep to a daily writing schedule, but since I am a flawed individual, I expect that it will happen again. I’ve also learned to be okay with that. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a few days at the keyboard. It’s when you never get back into the groove that you have problems.

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