Since I teach writing, I make it a point to write regularly. No, not just blogging (where I’m not exactly regular), but writing for publication: writing that will be evaluated by others, just as my students’ writing is evaluated by their peers and by me.
I usually try to submit an essay or article a year, sometimes more. And I tell my students, too, sharing my progress on my essays, as I show them the various strategies for developing ideas, drafting, revising and editing.
Yesterday, as she left my office after a rather cheerful discussion of a fairly decent rough draft, a student asked me (not without a bit of a smirk): “So, how’s YOUR essay coming along? You haven’t mentioned it lately.”
Well. She’s right. That’s because it was still stuck in that early process stage, or 13 pages of notes and ideas in not quite any logical order (the “down draft” or “child’s draft” according to Anne Lamott). This for an article with a 1000-word limit. So today (a holiday in our state) I’ve been focusing on selecting, organizing and editing. I’m down to 6 pages now–about 3 pages too much–but it’s nicely readable.
Yet, it’s also at that stage where the editing can get a bit painful. I LIKE my ideas, my words. You mean I have to keep cutting?
So I thought I’d spend a few hundred words complaining here instead.
Now that I’m finished, however, I need to go sharpen my knife editor’s pencil.
Is it happy hour somewhere yet?