Beginning Writing

There are a lot of tips out there about writing. It all isn’t going to hit home right away. Part of my problem at first was that I wanted to sit down and tap out my finished product into a file. I struggled with progress because I only accepted pure gold. Like anything else, the desire for instant gratification was killing my art.

Then one day while writing on a lunch break something just clicked. I felt that I needed to pound content out. No more being picky. If I started with nothing, whatever I came up with would be a vomiting of information. My rough drafts went from being one unfinished paragraph to a dozen pages that look pretty unreadable. That doesn’t sound like an improvement, but it changed everything. The large chunks that I’d write would be brief descriptions of scenes, no dialogue at all, and look about the same as my notes back in school. My rough drafts had turned into very detailed outlines. This may sound obvious, but no one ever told me that my rough draft could be a monster faced brain dump just for getting the ideas out of my head. I’d always assumed every draft should be your best effort.

Sure, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that the opposite tactic was what worked best for me. After that realization, though, my daily word count increased dramatically. Progress! I was able to surpass my goal of three pages a week for my novel, plus whatever writing I could fit in for anything else on the side. I started coming up with a bunch of content for this site, too. It’s a strange thing, having something that people have been telling you for ages finally click. I felt pretty stupid, but I was coming up with too much content to really care. Now I slap down a thousand words in a sitting and when I go back to edit what I’ve got it can grow to double that.

I don’t want this to be an infomercial for this writing method. Not everything is about pushing out sheer numbers of pages. Also, there’s a ton of deleting that goes on in my editing process. It’s supposed to be a discussion of a road block I hit. My real point is that sometimes we forget about that old idiom “You can’t see the forest for the trees” and that it is a darn wise expression. Sometimes we don’t recognize when we’re in those situations, so I figure this post is my little contribution to those folks.

Author: A. M. Langston

Poet and Novelist

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