Every writer has his or her own process. Because I began my professional writing career really early and with a strict weekly deadline that I had to meet, aside from all my schoolwork (I was still in high school), I needed to think and write fast and submit as quickly as possible.
The work was always considered good so there was no time in this process to revise or edit. This was the beginning of my professional writing career. I was only 14, so the habits started early. This became my process over the years.
I’m the kind of writer who lets an idea sit in my head and I just keep thinking about it until I have it all figured out in my head that I’m ready to burst and then I start typing. Usually, I get it all down in one go and that’s that. I submit it and it is usually fine, or the very least, it is deemed acceptable.
Very rarely do I get the work returned with comments and guidelines on how to revise. Because of this, editing and revising had become my weakness. It’s the part of the process that I need to learn and develop.
So yesterday I began fixing my process.
An idea entered my head and instead of just letting it settle and developing in my head like I used to, I rushed to my laptop and began writing it down. It was horrible, prosaic, and unstructured. I wrote down the big concept that I came up with and then all the little ideas that came to me. It was unstructured and messy.
And I left it at that.
I plan to develop and work on this piece over time. It’s a personal essay, something that would mean a lot to me should it ever get published. I plan to revisit it constantly adding new ideas every now and then, forming the structure as I add more text, and then rewriting or revising the sentences and even particular words that I’ve written first.
The idea now is to not finish this essay in one go. I want to work on this piece over time. I want to be able to say that every word, every sentence, every paragraph was deliberately chosen; that every part of this essay was heavily scrutinized by me before anybody else got to see it.
I want this to be the new process that I’ll be using in my writing. Of course, I’ll be getting jobs here and there with pressing deadlines where I won’t have this opportunity to develop the piece, but I’ll be using this method for all my new, personal writing.
For this blog, though, I’ll continue writing on the fly and just do as I’ve done before. Every entry in this blog is a product of automatic writing, even the poems. They are drafts, after all. I don’t think that will change. This is my safe space.
But everything else, the attempts at the literary, will undergo this slow development and this scrutiny. I never picked up the better writing habits having formed them too early.
Now is a better time than any to begin.