Posts Tagged ‘first drafts’

Write More, Publish Often

September 15, 2011

It may seem silly for a new writer to already be giving tips on writing.  The blog though is mine and mine only so you can keep that opinion to yourself.  Or hell, put it in the comment section if you want to make a big stink about it.

I’ve read that writers write when they learn to Write Badly, simple sounding tip to side-step the hemming and hawing one usually does before sitting down to write. For public purposes, pretend to be like Amy Hempel – who says that a bad sentence drives her so batty, she can’t let herself see one on the page, or Muriel Spark, who supposed each word that entered the world from her pen was a direct message from God.  But I feel sure that somewhere – in some leather journal with a thin silky ribbon – these women found a place to write very badly, albeit in secret.

The job of a writer, then, becomes to sort through all this bad writing – all these meaningless words and terrible phrases – and find inside them something worth holding onto.  That thought scribbled in a marble notebook hastily and hardly legible could be something that someone has been waiting to hear. And this tip is more traditionally meant for first draft, I’m going to extend the idea to the very final draft too – because if you’re a person for whom few things are good enough – you may have to learn to just sit with things that you find intolerably terrible in order to publish anything at all.

I hate to Leave time to Revise because doing so means I wasn’t perfect, like I’d like to be in the first place.  My daily fantasy is that the words I put on the page the very first time are good enough to send away without a second look.  Because the revision part requires you to not only see what’s not perfect, but to also see what you can do to make a change. And change is hard.

Change is also well worth the effort.  The thoughts that fly through all of our heads are undoubtedly brilliant but we have to work to get them to a point where our words reflect them as best as possible.  The more we revise the closer we get to perfection – although perfection isn’t the goal.  Revising forever is tiresome and terrible so there’s a moment when you have to just know that the thing you’ve made is put a fork in it done – but leave time anyway – just to see whether your most important points are on the page the best you know how.

Writing is experimental so it’s OK to change things up and Play with Voice when you feel like that’s fun. Anonymity could help shine light on whatever topics or thoughts you’ve previously thought of as unsuitable for wide release.  Me, I’m trying to see what happens if I let little parts of different selves drip outside of the one you all know and sometimes love.  But I like the idea of coming up with persona so the part of me that wants to run around in flapper dresses sloshing my olive scented martini all over other people at the bar can have a place to roam free.

So don’t be too proud to Pay for Readers.  Cook your friends dinner for reading, or spend some dough on a local class.  Later someone will be paying you, but for now – figure out what it is you write that makes people give a damn.

Blog publishing software allows you to get your writing to people quickly.  Reference links, photo, videos and the once over for typos all add up to the last 10% – the part I like to forget to plan for.  Details like categories, tags and headline rewrites make posts seem pro,  so Plan  for Production.  Choosing new templates, changing designs or adding new features don’t count as production and are forbidden until the post is up and ready, all five steps complete.