THERE WAS THIS post that showed up in my Twitter feed one night last year as I was about to go to bed. It was so timely, I just had to read it then and there. As soon as I finished reading, I had to type out a few thoughts. Now, I have to share.
I somehow managed to lose the link and cannot for the life of me find it again. But the main idea was: at some point, you just have to stop editing. Set a deadline and keep it, hit Save, then send in your work and do not look back.
I think that is such a good idea. Slightly tough to keep to, but a great idea nonetheless.
Just two days before reading that blog post, I had a piece to turn in that was driving me nuts.
I love writing, do not get me wrong, but you have no idea how draining it was to finish my article. In the past few weeks I barely had time to breathe I was so busy. I felt like I was being torn in 100 different directions, and it is frustrating when I cannot concentrate on just writing. I like being able to write everything as it flows and then go back later to proofread—and, if need be, to include more info, photos, etc.
You know, minor editing.
However, I had written this particular piece a few sentences at a time every now and then when I had a couple of spare minutes—or before I could forget as soon as I remembered something of note.
I hate writing like that.
It has also been frustrating to have one day (self-assigned deadline because I could not take it anymore) to go through it all and make it all seem like the piece flowed from the very beginning.
At one point as I started re-reading for the nth time and still figured it needed work, it hit me: I really needed to stop obsessing over it, stop tweaking it. So I just stopped and sent it in without thinking about it for a second longer.
Results? The editor emailed back in less than an hour telling me: “I love your article!”
When I told her about my editing issues, she replied: “It would be frustrating to write in such an occasional fashion, instead of feeling like you’re in the flow. I’m impressed that you turned in such a flowing, conversational piece of writing, complete with sprinklings of history and other interesting details.”
Wondering which piece I’m talking about? “My Three Most Favorite Attractions in Paris” actually. And judging by the lovely comments left there, the editor was right; I did manage to turn in a good piece of writing. I was just too close to it (and too exhausted) to notice that myself.
I completely agree with the approach I read in that blog post—set a deadline and stop then and there. Do not wait until you have to alternate between pulling your hair and thumping your head against the desk.
Happy writing everyone! Now… STOP editing!
~ Estrella Azul