In Writing the Story Within – Part I, the writing steps therein include ideation and drafting. Here are the rest of the steps.
Walking away from the draft
There’s really no such thing in the writing step as “walking away” from the draft. But I noticed it helps to verbalize and even visualize this action because in an age of “let’s get this over with” and send it on its merry way, it is important to set aside your work for a while to give it a new perspective. Notice that when you step away from your workspace and give yourself a break, new ideas come to mind!
“What if I say it this way? What if I move this paragraph right here? No wait, I’ll remove that paragraph altogether!” Those are all your other ideas, waiting in the wings until they can ‘come on stage’ and show you how they can make your piece look much better than the original!
Whenever I’m involved in any creative endeavor, not just writing, I do take a walk. I also run or swim to, literally, give my mind a breather. Many times, it is when I’m away from my workspace that other thoughts come flooding in. When that happens, like you, I find that I couldn’t go back home fast enough to start working again. Which brings me to . . .
Re-writing the draft
The hardest part is over – laying the foundation of your article – now it’s just a matter of making improvements ‘here and there.’ I say that with a bit of humor, but implementing changes could range from simple to complex. From replacing words, to revising or removing a sentence or, worse, taking out a paragraph or two and replacing them with new ones.
Don’t let such challenges discourage you. All your efforts are for your intended readers, I assume. Therefore, give them your best work! Did the words you choose evoke the emotions you want to bring out among your readers? Do the paragraphs flow when you read your piece aloud? Is it long or short enough to contain all the details you wish to convey? Has someone else with an impartial eye seen your work and said, “This is good”?
When all has been said and done . . .
Publish your work.
Make that leap and get it out there. Caveat: it is but natural that some will not take to your story right away or never at all. And that’s fine because it is assumed you wrote your piece for a particular audience.
Remember: to write for everyone is to write for no one.
Once you’ve published your work, give yourself a pat on the back. Look back on your writing journey, from the day a seed of an idea was born, to the days or perhaps weeks that it took you to develop your work, to the day that it made its debut among your readers. Isn’t that something to celebrate about?
Long or short article, it doesn’t matter. Congratulations!
I’m back in the WordPress community, feeling quite sorry for myself for not being more consistent with my online writing. I can blame a number of things, but really . . . the only one to blame is myself. I don’t keep a strict enough schedule that includes “blog writing” in my list of must-do’s.
Or should I?
I do will myself to carve time for my paper-and-pen journal writing, though. In fact, it’s as updated as can be, complete with photos and ephemera. When your week is filled with creating, managing, and updating information online like mine is, don’t you have an urge to get off the digital highway and handle something else other than a smartphone, tablet, or laptop? I do.
I think despite the generation we live in right now, where information and data can be freely mined on the world wide web, where communication tools (such as those I mentioned above) enable almost anyone to generate information or be a writer, humans will always yearn for something to touch, hold on to, and control – like pen and paper.
I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s something comforting about the way my hand glides over paper and how I can take my time going over the loops of letters. I don’t even mind when the calligraphy ink I use for practice smells a bit ‘musty.’ The overall experience just feels more natural.
Digital is the way to go, no doubt about that, but there’s no need to feel bad (like I do) if we’re not as active on it as “we should.” The latter only comes to play if these tools and apps are part of work. Otherwise, enjoy the moment tracking your memories in what comes more natural to many of us: reaching out for pen and paper.
I bought a unit some years (perhaps in 2011) with the original intention of printing photos of my nephews and sticking those on greeting cards that I send to friends. Eventually, I began using it to print photos of people, places, and things I want to remember and that I can incorporate – on the spot – in my journal entries.
Agree, photo centers can easily print copies of pictures I want and at a more reasonable price, too. But the PoGo Instant Mobile Printer is for those moments when a journal entry just can’t wait for that batch of photos to arrive. Incidentally, PoGo printouts are not exactly best quality because ZINK paper sheets have an expiration date. Images eventually become grainy, look faded, or the colors come out totally off!
Why bother, some may ask.
I’m with you: quality matters. After all, journals are supposed to be ‘legacies.’ You want to leave the best creative output and memories behind. That means using the best photos, among others, in your work. But I think you also know that feeling: when you need an image this instant to guide you so you can put on paper the exact words you want to say. That’s what the PoGo printer excels at.
The Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer has been taken out of the market with no replacement. If you’re considering buying a unit, please make sure to read the comments and feedback of current and previous owners. What works for me may not be the same for others.
(This entry first appeared in October 2008. I sent it as an email blast for an internal communication project with the title, Writer’s Toolbox: Catch That Thought in Print.)
Perhaps the best Christmas gift I ever received from my godmother was a diary. Godmother was a practical woman. As a young girl, until I was about to hit my teens, my godmother almost always gave me books.
Then one Christmas she gave me a small package. It was a white-colored, hardbound diary. To be honest, I didn’t feel thrilled at all. I could still remember asking myself, “What will I do with a fancy notebook? What will I write in it? Look at all those pages I have to fill up! This is too much work!”
Suffice it to say, I never used the diary. At least, not until I was about to graduate from elementary school, when I was old enough to understand that I don’t always have to read someone else’s story. I could write my own! I have the liberty to make it as funny or sad, long or short as I want it to be!
I didn’t use my first-ever diary to build imaginary worlds, as many young people are inclined to do. However, I put in enough entries to build my vocabulary, improve my use of English, and develop my writing style. Doesn’t sound very exciting or revealing, but it’s true.
What does the whole sharing have to do with improving written communication? As you may have guessed . . .
There’s more than one way to develop our written communication skills. Attending classes definitely help. Reading textbooks may be useful. But keeping a diary, or blog* if you prefer, may yield the most benefits because it allows you to play with words, express yourself more freely, and develop your creativity. In short, keeping a diary or blog, whether it is personal or published online, builds writing confidence in a non-threatening manner.
All of us have a story to tell. What’s yours?
*blog – contraction of words web + log