Do you Stew the Pot or Bake the Loaf?

During the process of migrating from Blogger to WordPress I lost a few early posts. For some unknown reason they didn’t transfer and since nobody ever read them it seemed a shame they got abandoned down in Google’s basement. I’ve resurrected them here just for you. Sweet!

Fresh from the compost heap:

Writing often reminds me of food. In this case it’s the stew pot. I like to organize story files into folders. The folder becomes the repository of everything that might somehow possibly be needed at some indeterminate point of the future for that story. This means I throw in pretty much everything I stumble across that seems relevant. It’s the same way I make soup when the fridge gets overfull. Open door and start tossing things on the counter. Dump the mound into the pot. Stew.

Writing has interested me since I was wee. How young? I don’t really remember. I’ve always read voraciously and burned through the children’s books section of the local library long before childhood was over. I’m not a picky reader either – a multitude of subjects interest me. As a kid I made lists of things: complex words, colors, descriptors, birds, fish, geologic features, mythological figures, astronomical observances, etc.

Occasionally I still run across bits of things I wrote ages ago – stuck into books, tucked into folders, and even slid between the mattress and box spring (not sure what was going on there). Was it good? Nope. Is it fun to have? Way.

I’ve come to think of writing as being a lot like baking bread. Sometimes the dough rises so fast you have to punch it down and do it again. Other times the loaf just sits there like a lump and grows marginally plumper as hours pass. For me writing is like that. Words sometimes flow out too fast to scribble down. Then there are the days when every letter grudgingly drips off the pen like it was formed of tar. Don’t get me wrong, in the end the slow rise and the fast rise both produce tasty results. The quick write and the slow write still produce yeasty words worth savoring.

The tough part is knowing when it’s done. Tastebuds and experience tells you when the stew is just right. Thermal charring indicates when the bread is overbaked. Practice makes you better at assessing. For me, knowing when writing reaches that perfect doneness is tougher. I must not have enough practice yet…but I’m getting there.

Update to Recycled Post: May 2012

I’m making a final quick pass through the manuscript (Frankenscript lives!), and then I’m sending it off to a real editor. A. Real. Editor. Genuine with an office and everything. A legitimate pair of critical eyes ready to detail all the good and bad bits of my manuscript.

This will break the cycle of: Edit. Read. Edit again. Read again. Repeat. Do this ad nauseum. See? That Latin I took in secondary school still comes in handy. Seeking out an editor is a smart choice for me. I’m ready to hack away the weeds.

Have you considered taking the leap and hiring an editor? What boundaries have you set for your work? I’ve recently realized my focus has changed during the last year in regard to what I want to do with my writing. Those realizations will influence how I decide to pursue publication. Has your grand plan changed too?

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