The Two Writing Hats and Why You Can’t Wear Both
Often I would get stuck in in the middle of an article or piece. I would find myself in this cycle over and over. I’d go back and edit something and I’d be disappointed in the outcome of what I was doing. I’d dwell upon all the lines that didn’t sound right or the lack of a cohesive story arc.
The digital waste basket in the smokey writers room of my mind’s eye was filled with the refuse of incomplete drafts.
It took me a while to realize that the goal was, as Anne Lamott puts it, to produce “Shitty First Drafts”.
These drafts are a metaphorical writing enema.
Every last bit of refuse must be purged.
Once the shit is on the proverbial paper, it can be curtailed it to fit your needs.
But, to try to edit your thoughts or your words in the process will only stifle your creativity.
It is painful to throw a bunch of tripe on paper, free-form. Even deeper pain sets in when you go back to edit and can’t believe it actually made it on the page. But, this is the only conduit to accomplishing the goal of creating.
You must take the Baseball Player’s Approach to Writing and expect that 7 out of 10 appearances at your writer’s plate will end in failure.
Once you have everything out and on paper, then the editing can start.
Editing is where the analytical mind comes in. You can cut, copy, rearrange and even add a little creative flair to your final piece.
You can also shore up your research. This is where face-palm moments can come in and you can say, wow, I was thoroughly full of shit here, but a lot of good came out over here. Much like the sculptor, you’re left with a completed figure, but to get there you also produced a pile of rubble.
Once you’ve gone through both phases you can now compile a cohesive structure and assemble your final draft.