When you really get into writing and decide to make it part of your life you start experiencing the real hurdles. You think, “Man, it was hard enough to actually decide to do this and now it just gets harder?” (insert tears and brain pains). I’m a new writer, I would classify myself as an infant even, and new challenges are thrown at me everyday. Today I scrapped a solid effort and it was sad.
I wrote about 2,500 words for a piece I was hell bent on submitting for a contest and I scrapped it all. It was about five hours worth of work and I got to a point where my story lost all focus, and got so far gone, there was no saving it. Writers count words like the calories of a fad diet, every single one matters. A few months ago I would have pushed forward with it, thrown my ideas down and called it good, words didn’t matter so much to me then. While I feel that is extremely valuable for brainstorming and word vomiting ideas that are not quite flushed out, it has downsides.
As you grow as a writer you start to loath the tiresome process of editing. Sometimes if you write something to horrendous and incomprehensible in the beginning, you will spend twice or three times as long crafting it into something readable. I’ve discovered that the more I write everyday the easier it is to recognize bad writing as soon as it hits the page. Just like with any skill, writing is practice, practice, practice, so hang in there.
This is the opening paragraph of what I wrote today, the rest of the piece didn’t carry this tone at all. I thought I would be able to introduce my characters and come back to this, but it never happened, so it was cast into the ether to die.
“…The riddle of the century was asked of me when I was only twenty-two years old. Smoke filled lounges, liquor stained carpets, and counter tops with sugary adhesive puddles were to be my world for the next two days. Revolving bundles of fruit set in motion by hands on large levers make loud dings as eyes light up around the room. Each one of those hands attached to an individual dream, a life without hardship, the new American Dream. Faces beaming with smiles or barred teeth are illuminated by the flashing sirens of blue, red, yellow, and green. What was that riddle? Where is the only place where you can be anyone but yourself? Where what happens supposedly stays for eternity? This is Vegas baby, the new gold rush, land of the free, and home of the destitute…”
The battle was lost today, but victory was gained on another front. I learned quite a bit about what it will take in the future for me to stay on track. Onward!
Danny Machal April 5th, 2009