Sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better.
Not writing at all leads to nothing.
If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
I found those sayings in a Google search for how to get over writer’s block. They all offer sound advice, but I would like to add my own favorite mantra to those encouraging words of wisdom.
You can't edit a blank page.
Those words remind me that in order to enjoy the fruits of my most favorite part of the writing process—seeing my words transformed by my editor—I first have to write them.
My editor, Tracy, edits almost everything that I write for others to see. She calls herself the “polishing crew.”
I call her a magician.
Entire pages have disappeared at the wave of her pen.
She once prevented me from writing that ‘thoroughbred horses arrived at the Belle Meade Plantation to be bred by their owners” (as opposed to each other!), and has on more than one occasion stopped me from publishing angry blog posts I would later regret. She keeps track of how many times I repeat myself within a text, and questions my math when I write something like “585,000 people showed up” for an event in Nashville at a time when the population of the entire state of Tennessee was less than half that number.
Tracy also keeps me from boring my readers with unimportant minutia. Sidenotes like the one she wrote next to my 320-word description of a man cleaning a courtroom three hours before court convened kept me from embarrassing myself.
Her comment read: Unless someone is going to pick up the spittoon, admire its gleam, and then toss it at one of the people in the courtroom, I would lose this page. I don't think your readers are going to be interested in the art of spittoon-cleaning.
Everything I write benefits from Tracy's comments—and of course from her corrections of my spelling, grammar, and tenses. With that being said, I must confess that it is very scary for me to share any of my writing without the benefit of her magic pen.
God bless her for putting up with me.
I know it hasn't been easy.