Sunday, May 6, 2012

Writing isn't Editing

I've noticed habits in my writing. Noticed them because I'm editing my entire manuscript line by line (this looks very much like rewriting).

There are patterns of grammatical error I've picked up on because they occur again and again. I have long sentences with too many pronouns. Short, almost jerky, sentences overusing the word "is" and containing too many proper names. Like a road map that would stop you every mile to ensure you're still tracking.

Weird, eh?

I could tell myself, "watch for these problems while you're writing so you don't repeat them."

I could say that.

I had a boss once (can you imagine?). I was the receptionist and she was a recluse who communicated minimally, and usually through email even though she saw me every day. One day I screwed up on something--don't ask me what, I don't remember--and she sent me an email about it. I could mention she was in the room next to me when she sent me this email, but I'll spare you the details. Part of the email read, "Please ensure that this doesn't happen again in future."

And I thought, "I can't ensure this will never happen again. I know me. I will screw up again."

I write long sentences with too many pronouns, and I write short sentences overusing the word "is." It has to do with the way my brain works when I'm writing, thinking so hard about what I'm seeing in my head that the words almost get in the way.

I'm thinking deep, aiming for clarity of vision. And what ends up on the page is long sentences with pronouns all over the place.

I don't have to watch for these problems while I'm writing. I have to watch for them later, when I'm editing. That's when it matters.

The only thing that matters when I'm creating a scene from nothing but my imagination and the audacity to believe I have the right to write, is that I write and keep writing.

Permission to write means you give yourself total freedom to write what you have to write. Get the words down. Fuss with them all you like later, but get the words down while they're still hot and meaningful.

I bid you good writing.

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