A Different Kind Of Clarity

Every day I get tidbits of information that help with writing.  Mostly the advice comes in email from other websites I automatically subscribe to, like Writer’s Digest, agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog, http://www.rachellegardner.com/  and Janet Reid’s blog, http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/, to name a few sources.  What I appreciate most is when I land on writing advice or a technique I don’t need to store away for future reference.  This is because half the time I forget I even have it, or if I happen to see it again, I might be passed the point of being able to use it.  I love reading about something for the here and now, with a current project.  This week, I’ve had two of these slide into view, like very timely and much needed reminders.

For example, from Writer’s Digest came the benefits of writing a fast first draft, http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/benefits-of-writing-a-fast-first-draft.

The thing about this fast first draft, I’ve done it previously – twice.  I’ve yet to figure out why I haven’t pushed myself harder on getting a rough draft in place for this third book.  I don’t know why I haven’t stopped myself from tweaking and nitpicking at every word.  In the back of my  mind I know why I’m doing this, but it doesn’t really mean I should.  If I’d read that article above a few months ago, I feel I’d have the thing done by now, like a reminder, hey, you’ve done it this way before, remember?  Anyway, I’ve decided, after reading this article, as well as seeing at least two other articles saying something similar, that I’ve got to do this or I’m going to be re-working the first one hundred pages for the next two years.

I’m also due to send this next bunch of pages off to my editor.  Which brings me to the second technique I’ve read about, and sort of goes against the first, at least at this point in my process.  It wasn’t written about in any writing newsletter I receive in my email.  I came across this technique when reading some comments by other writers on a blog.  They mentioned how they print their manuscript and work page by page, making notations off to the side.  I have no idea why I’ve never worked this way.  I’ve always revised my manuscripts the same way — directly on my laptop. So many seemed to do it this way, I thought, they must know something.  Let me just say, it brings a very different kind of clarity to my writing.  I can’t explain it, I won’t even try, but I love it.  I can see mistakes I’ve somehow skimmed right over, I can see ways to change a sentence or a place to put new words in, and most importantly, I think it can help tighten up what I have thus far.

Now, all I can do is wonder why it took me so long!  Maybe I was trying to save trees.  Maybe I was just being stubborn, refusing to think it could really help.

The question I have to ask myself is, why didn’t I try sooner?  Answer:  Beats me.

My question for you is, have you always worked this way and if so, do you see your work differently as well?



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