I feel like there is an lot of fantastic advice out there about writing, but most of it is about getting started. Mantras such as…
“Write a thousand words per day” – Chris Guillebeau
…are fantastic, but what about editing?
Yes, I know editing is part of writing but to me the verb write means getting the words on the page or screen and that doesn’t extend much past a first draft.
Of course the most important part is polishing the words you have regurgitated on to the page in to something of sense.
This goes beyond correcting the typos and spelling errors to making sure that the words form a coherent message and that everything flows.
This is where I have a problem.
I have no issue writing first drafts, I love it in fact, and writing a thousand words per day works for me.
But after I’ve completed that first draft I become stuck.
This is because, well, if I’m honest, I get bored with what I’ve written. I don’t think that is because what I’ve written is bad either…it’s just my personality type…once I’ve learned, explored, researched and understood a topic I move on. I’m perpetual chasing more knowledge and information (this is probably more of a disadvantage than an advantage). It’s a classic ENTP trait.
“The first draft of anything is shit” – Ernest Hemingway
What pains me, is that I go to the web for answers for everything…but when it comes to this problem I am drawing a blank.
There are plenty of fantastic resources out there talking about what to write, how to get started writing and all that stuff. There’s even fantastic resources out there which talk about publishing, formatting, pricing.
What’s missing? The bit in the middle. There just, in my opinion, isn’t anywhere near enough information out there about taking a first draft to be ready to publish.
If getting started was people’s biggest problem (it’s never been mine), then shipping or getting it out there is surely the next biggest hurdle?
The classic texts about writing don’t go in to enough detail about this either. I’ve read many great books about writing, including On Writing by Stephen King. But I still come up short.
As someone who thinks in systems and is always looking for effective solutions, there is some interesting light at the end of the tunnel for people like me struggling to edit.
(Hemingwayapp.com)[hemingwayapp.com] is a fun way to edit your documents. And the fantastic Draft is introducing more editing features, including being able to get professional human editing from within the app to an editing robot to give you suggestions.
Any technical solutions are going to rely on linear algorithms, and of course the best writing is that done by a human, in their own voice, calling on their own experience with their own unique perspective.
But I need help. I need great writers to share their editing methods. I need people who write and publish online to talk more about this.
There is enough about getting started. We need more about polishing raw text in to something publishable.
And nothing about fear, rejection and perfectionism here. I need tactics.
I think there is a real gap in the information market for this stuff.
If you are a prolific writer I offer you up the challenge of solving this problem for people.