You know the feeling.
You’re out for a walk, in the shower, or in the car. You can’t grab a pen or put your fingers on your keyboard. That’s when the ideas come.
You come home, or dry off, and run for the computer. You start typing. It’s a great idea, and the words are flowing faster than you can catch them.
You pound out the first draft.
Sometimes you go all the way through to the end. Sometimes you get halfway, or more, and then run out of steam. Where were you going with this anyway?
You keep working on it until it’s mostly there. It’s good. Really good.
You love writing!
Now you’re tired. You make a cup of tea, grab a snack, throw some laundry in, go out and get the mail. Call a friend.
Eventually you make your way back to the computer. You read it again, edit a little more, and it feels good. Wow. You wrote an article or an essay today! Time to let it sit for a bit.
You go back later, maybe the next morning. You read what you wrote and…it’s not that good.
What happened? It seemed like a brilliant idea. You had some nice word choices. But it’s loose. There are too many threads, and they’re out of order. It sucks.
You hate writing!
You make a cup of tea, grab a snack, throw some laundry in, go out and get the mail. Call a friend.
Eventually you sit back down, and read it again.
It’s not really all that bad. It just needs some work. Some paragraphs obviously don’t belong in the piece at all. What were you thinking when you went so far off track? You cut and paste them to your “Good Stuff to Use Later” file.
The paragraphs need to be shifted around. There, that helped. It’s getting better.
But now the transitions are messed up.
You fix them, and read it again. Better still, but the opening hook isn’t strong enough. Actually, the whole first paragraph is kind of worthless. You cut that too, but don’t save it to your Good Stuff file. (It’s not.)
You tighten up the lead, then look at the ending. It’s weak. What would your editor say? What’s the point of this piece? What are you really trying to say? Ah, that’s it. You worked it out. It’s not wonderful, but it’s decent. You might be able to do something with it.
You do the dishes, feed the cat, go out on the front porch to get some air.
You come back and read it again. It’s okay. It just needs some more detail, always your downfall.
What would your editor say? What did it look like, smell like, feel like? What were you thinking, feeling? What did you say? What did they say to you? You add some sensory words, some dialog.
You read it again. You check for clichés, for words used too often. You use the online thesaurus to find some more compelling words.
You read it again. It’s pretty good, actually. You check your grammar, look for the red squiggly underline in Word that tells you it doesn’t like something.
Time to try it out on someone. You cross your fingers and hit send.
Your friend, who is always encouraging, but very honest, writes back and says she LOVES it!!! Caps and three exclamation points—that’s as good as it gets. You try another friend. She says it gave her chills.
It’s confirmed—it’s good! Maybe even great.
You love writing!
Elaine Luddy Klonicki is a freelance writer and copy editor who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is passionate about personal growth and inspiring people to be their best selves. Her blog, Quite Something, can be found at http://www.klonicki.com/
Follow her on her new twitter account @eklonicki.
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- All in a (Writer’s) Day | Litteris | Sco... | May 19, 2014