“Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.”
“Practice makes perfect.”
“You won’t succeed if you never try.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”
There are lots of things we can say to motivate ourselves. Everyone likes a good pep talk, after all. But does perfection ever truly come with more practice? Can Rome be built in merely half a day? Can success be achieved with no effort at all?
Would the little train Engine reach the summit of the mountain if he didn’t think he could do it? (I think I can, I think I can…)
Not much happens when effort is lacking. Or absent altogether. This is true with most things in life. It is certainly true when it comes to your writing.
Work Towards The Goal Being Your Passion
As a writer, I find that I enjoy editing much better than actually writing. I write in order to edit. If I could skip the whole writing gig and just edit my art, then I’d be a very happy camper.
But that’s my problem. I can’t edit my art until I first write it. You can’t paint a masterpiece without first grabbing the brush. The chicken comes before the egg, if you will.
Personally, my creativity is spurred on when I get the erasure and change, edit, reformat, look for synonyms, etc. Blank white screens make me nervous. Yuck.
When I see a blank white page staring back at me, I get all jittery and tense.
Yet as the end of the page draws nearer and nearer and nearer still, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soft music begins to play somewhere off in the distance. Scents of jasmine and roses perfume the air. Moons align and life becomes what it should be. For me, a finished page is just the beginning of happy times ahead. I can’t wait to edit. To refine. To dabble.
For me, editing is writing! Or rather, editing is yet another brush stroke on the canvas of what will become a masterpiece.
Not every writer writes the same way. We are as unique as the snow that falls from the heavens. As different as the prints on our hands.
The Similarities Between Writing And Golfing
For me, writing my first draft of anything is like playing a round of golf. Don’t tell anyone this but…I’m not that great at golf. I like to swing as hard as I can and just see what happens. Frankly, it’s not a good strategy for golf but it works for me. It makes it fun.
My tee shot in golf is typically nothing short of brutal. My ball usually lands in the middle of the fairway, but it just so happens to be another hole’s fairway. My tee shot in golf is a lot like my first draft in writing. All over the place but–Wow!–did I swing hard or what.
What keeps me going back to play another round of golf is that I get a chance to hit a second shot. And then a third. With each shot I’m provided another opportunity to wipe away past mistakes.
I can usually get onto the green by shots three or four (or seven or eight). After all is said and done, I’m a bogey golfer, averaging an extra shot per hole. I’ll never make the PGA cut, but I can hang my head high when I walk off the 18th green.
Editing Is Like Choosing Clubs In A Golf Bag
Writing is like golf. After swinging hard on my first finished draft, I’m not even close to where I want to be. I then spend some time editing and I’m back on the fairway before you know it, approaching the coveted green with a smile on my face.
After a few more rounds of editing, my ball finds the bottom of the cup and I’m scribbling away on my score card.
If golfing was limited to the tee shot only, I wouldn’t waste my time. But the beauty of the game is that I get a chance to right my wrongs, to correct my mistakes, and walk on the manicured grass.
Writing is like golf. If all I could do is offer my first draft, I wouldn’t waste my time. For me, the true love in writing comes in the editing process. That’s where I get to choose my clubs, check the wind, and putt for gold.
Remember this: Most golfers will never hit a hole in one. Ever. So you’re in good company.
What Can You Learn?
As you sit down to pen the first draft of your next blog article or chapter for a book, remember that it’s just the tee shot. You’ll get to refine it. To correct the mistakes. To win the game. To make it a masterpiece!
That’s why we need to practice our writing. The little Engine thought he could and that’s what gave him the motivation to reach the top of the mountain.
The greatest writers in the world would fail miserably if all they could present was a rough draft. So start writing, keep writing, and refine your work!
Just start writing. Because practice makes perfect.
QUESTION: Do you like writing or editing better? And why?
* Image Credit: seanomatopoeia (Creative Commons)