This is the last opinion/editorial piece I will write as an intern for the Pierce County Tribune. While I’m writing this I still have a four to five page paper to write, of which only one-and-a-quarter pages, double-spaced, have been written. It’s not that I’m procrastinating, it’s that I, personally, find that writing is sometimes difficult to do.
Chances are someone will try to tell you that writing is an easy thing to do. Well, he or she is partially right. It may be easy for him or her but maybe not for you and not exactly for me. He or she either has a process that works for them or does one of the following; he or she writes down anything he or she is thinking, he or she just starts writing with no clear idea as to what he or she wants out of it, or he or she just absent-mindedly writes and then calls it good. I know I couldn’t do any of those things because the final product may not be how I want it, or it may not be what was asked of me.
My process–regardless of whether or not you want to know–takes a while. If someone tried it, chances are he or she would burn off a calorie or two. I start by trying to think of what I want to say, what angle I want to take or even what I want to write about. Then I walk around the room I’m in, or go out of that room and move to a different room for a brief time and then come back. When I do come back, chances are I’ll have another idea and I’ll delete anything that was written beforehand if the old and new ideas don’t jibe well together.
Since I started working at the student newspaper at Minot State University, I started to not mind someone else reading and marking my drafts to within inches of their written lives. I also started to not mind revisions, as long as the tips whoever edited it gave weren’t ambiguous in meaning. Before that, I had an awful time dealing with constructive criticism in regards to my writing, and to an extent I still do.
The point is that writing is kind of hard, but if you know what you want to accomplish you can do it with a process that works for you, and you alone. The trick is, you have to think about that process or even create one. Unless you’re writing to be included in a prestigious journal or magazine, for a periodical or writing a book, don’t worry about being published. Unless of course, you blog like it’s your job, in which case do worry about being published. I would advise you, however, to have someone else look at what you write, because sometimes you could be your own worst enemy. Tell them to give you suggestions about ways it could go. Have them look at your grammar and mechanics, and give you constructive criticism about any aspect of your writing and any changes you can make. A piece of paper that a professor of mine posted outside of her office reads something like this; “You are not God, and you will have to make revisions.”