By guest blogger Estrella Azul
THERE WAS THIS post that showed up in my Twitter feed one night last week 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 can’t 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, and then send in your work and don’t look back.
I think that’s 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, don’t 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’s frustrating when I can’t 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 couldn’t 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 needs 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 you’ve left, the editor was right (Thank you so much, Milli!); 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. Don’t wait until you have to alternate between pulling your hair and thumping your head against the desk.
As I saw it, there was also another issue here. When she submitted this guest post, I asked Estrella if she remembered the times I had urged her not to drive herself crazy trying to edit her stories for Milliver’s Travels, but instead to show me the piece and let me decide what else was needed. She said she *had* remembered me saying that—but it was her perfectionist streak that caused her to go through this routine with the editing stress. She has agreed to let me use her as one of my examples for a blog post I plan to write in the near future, to be entitled Writers and the Fine Art of Getting Help. Thanks, Estrella! ~ Milli
Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. Her creative writing has been published or is awaiting publication in online magazines including Vox Poetica, Six Sentences, Flashes in the Dark, Soft Whispers and in both the print and e-book version of Best of Friday Flash – Volume One.
To read her travel articles, visit Estrella’s staff writer index of articles at Milliver’s Travels or to read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.