All in a (Writer’s) Day

May 17, 2014 | By | 24 Replies More

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.

Elaine Klonicki at the TAF Writers Conference

Elaine Klonicki (left) at a TAF Writers Conference in Raleigh North Carolina. (Photo by writer Kristy Stevenson)

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!

US Author Elaine Klonicki Preparing Conference Materials

Author and Triangle Area Freelancers Board Member Elaine Klonicki Preparing Conference Materials

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 Ludy Klonicki at a Book Signing at The Heritage in Raleigh NC

Elaine Ludy Klonicki at a book signing with Thinking About Therapy (pale green cover) and All on Account of You: A True WWII Love Story (beige and blue cover)

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

Follow her on her new twitter account @eklonicki.

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Category: On Writing, US American Women Writers

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  1. All in a (Writer’s) Day | Litteris | Sco... | May 19, 2014
  1. Mary Latela says:

    It’s good … it’s not so good! Don’t waste time judging your own work until you have a chunk worth rereading and reworking… not necessarily the moment you sit down in the mornings.

    • Mary, for me it depends on the piece. In general, I agree. Wait until you have a substantial chunk. But sometimes it comes together for me bit by bit as I keep going back to it and keep making adjustments. I find my process varies a lot from day to day, but as long as it keeps moving me forward, I’m okay with that.

  2. Tatjana van der Krabben says:

    It’s Always like this. Yet, I love this quality to be able to review your own work to a point. You need that or will be reduced to the writing equivalent of a horrible performer on a talent show, oblivious his/her lack of talent.

  3. Caroline says:

    Yep, this sounds like me alright. The writing life is a roller-coaster of emotion. The risk, I think, is that when you are on a downswing and you go off to make tea or do the laundry, you might never come back to it.

    I started a blog recently which I hope is going to help me (and others) with the down swings. By writing about the creative process and about books and other creative endeavors I get a clearer picture of my own understanding of projects, which in turn helps me to take a more objective view of my activities.

    It’s not easy though.

  4. pooja pathak says:

    oh, r u somewhere around me? same experience I feel whenever start writing. Thoughts never favors me, so many times I change my idea of writing. second idea always seems better then initial idea…….sometimes it works…not always….take a break…. going to get cup of tea.

  5. Kate Foster says:

    I love this! This is exactly how writing is. Each step to creating a brilliant piece raises a bizarre mish-mash of emotions. The amount of times I’ve had a tantrum and decided I don’t want to be a writer in the middle of a book but then can’t help but try again and again. Thanks, Elaine.

  6. Claudia luiz says:

    LOL! Was just sayings””YES, YES,YES!!” Add to mine ” I should be exercising/doing more!” Lovely piece… And great pics!!

  7. Tonya Rice says:

    Never fails for me – when I’m doing the dishes!!! Sometimes I allow myself to realize the ideas may come then, so I accept it and have pen and paper nearby. Other times I may not be prepared and the BEST sentences float around and I’m a madwoman looking for paper!

    • I know what you mean, Tonya! When the words start flying, they sound so GOOD in my head, but it’s hard to get them down quick enough. I work on a desk in my kitchen, so I can run to my laptop pretty easily from both my kitchen and laundry, thankfully!

  8. Janet Kelley says:

    I relate to the roller coaster you describe! I love writing and yet need to learn to love the process as well.

  9. Rebecca Holmes - 'Quiet Writer' says:

    I identify with so much in this, especially the way ideas pop into your head when you’re doing something else, as if the brain needs to relax to do its creative job. I tend to write the first draft as and when it comes, with everything thrown in. Only after leaving it and then reading it through do I realise what the focus is. Then I can start fine-tuning and putting in more of the sort of detail that brings it to life. Looks as though the same is true for so many of us. 🙂

  10. Great article! It describes my daily writing cycle. I’ve actually been trying to stop doing this so I can push out more articles and faster because I’m always second guessing my original words. Any suggestions?

    • Tynisha, I think we’re all guilty of second-guessing ourselves to death, especially early in our writing careers. It may be one of those things that comes with experience. Sometimes you have to employ the “good enough” concept. If you spend a lot of extra time tweaking the piece, is anyone else really going to notice the difference? It’s worth a second and third pass to look for anything that’s unclear, and to remove any repetition of concepts or words in close proximity, but beyond that, it’s not worth obsessing about. Let it go, as the song says.

  11. Perfect!!
    You just voiced what was in my mind!! 🙂

  12. Amy Kierce says:

    Great piece! You explained it so well. I love when the energy of the moment can carry me through to “get down” enough, but then there are those Writer Saturdays when I’m just plain tired. Nothing creative comes when I’m tired, so that’s when I clean… But when I clean, ideas will “pop” into my head. It’s such a great process. I’m glad I think this way. 🙂

    • It’s a win-win, Amy. You get your house clean, AND you get story ideas! I’m out of sync lately, but for a while I had a good routine going, starting my day with a bit of cleaning, and then showering. By then, I’d be full of ideas!

  13. Kimberly, I’m always so happy that I’ve written something. The longer I’ve been writing, the more confident I get, though. I love editing, too!

  14. Yeah, that’s about what I do with my own writing. For me, editing other writers’ works is fun, but I always think my own is well…bleh…until I let it sit for a while!

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