Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Challenge, Day 28: Harping on That Again

Pre-editing your thoughts can really stunt your writing. In the initial stages of a writing piece I will often try to get the information from my brain and into words and make it sound like a polished, finished piece as soon as it hits my word processor screen. It does not work like that! Trying for perfection at the first crack results in frustration and an incomplete piece of writing. Think about it. When you do a jigsaw puzzle, you don't pull the pieces out in sequence, fitting each new one to the last one until you've got the finished puzzle. Nor do you dump them out all at once and expect them to miraculously find their mates and assemble themselves. No, you have to dump all the pieces out first in one messy pile. Then you spread them out, turn them over, pick them up, put them down, pick them up again and try to find the place where each belongs. With writing, you won't write half of what you meant to if you don't let all your ideas tumble out onto the page first - you might be missing some key pieces if you don't empty the box (your brain!) before you start the final assembly. It probably won't come out pretty as a whole, but dump out a big pan of gravel first. Later you can pick through and find the nuggets worth polishing. There's plenty of time for editing later. Initially do not try to make it sound finished, just write it exactly as you think it as each thought pops into your head. Let it out, and you'll have much more to work with!


Karen Lange said...

Good stuff! Love the picture:) May have to share this link on my blog.

Becky Lange said...

Thanks! And feel free to share :-).

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becky -

Great analogy! At workshops, we're always instructed to get something on paper. Then you can edit, add, and tweak to your heart's desire.

Susan :)

Becky Lange said...


It's hard for me to "let it all out" at first since I want it to look finished and ready right at the start. But I also love when I get to writing and stuff just starts to come out. Then I can wade back through my beautiful mess and make something lovely out of it!
Thanks for stopping by :-).


Raymonde said...

I really like the analogy with the jigsaw puzzle. That is going to be a great help for me. Thank you for sharing. Come and visit, although across the pond the journey is free via blogland. Sometimes your mum also stops by!
Take care. Happy blogging!
Bless you. xxx

Carol J. Alexander said...

Hi Becky,
Your mom sent me over here. I love this analogy! And, it is my weakness. I think it's the perfectionist in me. I also think it's a habit that I've acquired from being a stay at home/homeschooling mom. Since I can't always get to pen and paper, I will frequently roll something over and over in my brain until I can get it down, then, of course, I think it's perfect...which it is NOT.

Becky Lange said...


Thank you for stopping by! I will certainly make the blogging journey and stop by to see you. :-)

Have a great day!

Becky Lange said...


Thanks for checking it out. At least you get things down - often I'll think of a good topic but throughout the day lose track and forget what I wanted to write about by the time I sit down at the computer. I need to work on that!

Have a lovely day!

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Thanks for this great illustration. Stopped by here by way of your mom's blog which is a treasure.

I share this problem of pre-editing as I go along. It definitely slows me down, but I have trouble getting my brain to release my words without that internal edit. I believe your puzzle illustration will help me with that.

Please stop by my Eternity Cafe!

Becky Lange said...

Thanks for stopping by Susan! We'll all work on our over-editing tendencies together, shall we? :-)

Have a great day!