Striving for Polish
On a personal level, writing helps me clarify the world around me. I write to understand my feelings, working through things both creatively and logically. My thoughts build up inside, causing an overwhelming pressure, stifling me with fear. When it bursts, they start as a bunch of jumbled words that pour out of me, feelings that range the gambit from elation to devastation. Sifted through a structure of sentences, nouns, verbs, adjectives, to form a rhythmic rant that offers me peace. Writing is my outlet. Writing is dramatic. Writing is a craft.
It’s something I’ve always had, notebooks are cheap, putting pen to paper was easy. The pen part is important; I’ve started transferring old sections of stories I wrote in class, or whenever I could, only to find half of them were written in pencil. Notebook papers rubbed together to create an indecipherable mess of graphite. Lesson learned a bit too late. Regardless, when writing, I could create little stories any time I wanted. It teleports me; it was another version of a daydream, sometimes it would be a continuation of a real dream. Creating different worlds and people is fascinating to me. When I’m writing a story, I love the feeling I get when I know there is more beyond the words I’ve written, when the characters reveal a secret even I didn’t know. I may know the larger plot points in a story, but getting my characters to those points is always a mystery until inspiration hits.
Personal writing and fiction are only part of the craft, though. They are the part I feel more confident about, probably because I’m not trying to make money from either of them. Another part is a more professional side, marketing and persuasion, instead of letting words flow out, each must be carefully thought through. It’s frustrating and formulaic; you find something that works, and you use it over and over again. I haven’t hit my stride. The words don’t roll off my tongue; I drag them out, dreading where they end up because they are not good enough. They need polish. That’s where I’m weak. I can create a good foundation, but polishing the words up and tweaking them is torture.
Editing is a part of writing I never learned how to do correctly. The number of first drafts that I’ve turned in using Microsoft Word’s grammar and spell check as a substitute for an editor is embarrassing. It’s pride. I get attached to these terrible sentences that I created with good intentions. I have to find other tools to help me hone my writing; the main one is letting people read it and learning from them. I have started to delete those terrible sentences and find a better way to communicate the idea, in the end, the result is better for it. It is a work in progress; editing is not learned overnight, polish is worth striving for.