I often find that the “fix” is as simple as a “sloppy first draft.” The crux of the matter is (and I mean this with everything I think I “know”) is I don’t “know what I know” until I “see what I’ve said about it.” Hence the sloppy first draft. Write it all out, including the “what’s stuck in my craw” about the subject. Swear, rant, rave. Do what one of the best editors I’ve ever know said: “Write to length,” by which he meant, “Keep writing until you written yourself out on the subject.” (That is, overwrite.) Then put the butt-ugly draft aside for what I call “a sleep cycle.” This usually means overnight (while you’re asleep) but I’ve also done this when I’ve written a draft in the morning and taken an afternoon nap. Get rested first, and then look at it critically. Ask yourself, “What do I think about this now? What’s missing? What’s way overstated? How can I shape this better?” Once I get to that stage, it’s either chuck it wholesale or find a path through. Usually I can find the path. Thanks for posting this topic!

Writer, editor, and media maker. Blogs at Completely in the Dark (www.completelydark.com) and lives in Minneapolis, MN. I notice things.

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