Conundrum

Scales L-HI’ve been writing a lot of short fiction since I joined Edgewise Words Inn. It’s been a good learning experience partly because of feedback from my co-contributors but also from the act of writing itself.

I like writing, it stimulates my mind. I hate writing, it taxes my brain. Let me explain.

I’m forced to one-finger type because of an old injury. I start writing and thoughts come to mind much faster than my brain can direct my index finger. My mind is a battering ram, breaking through gates to reach the damsel of creativity, but my brain misses keys or hits abd instead of and, as a result I see a red underline which raises a battlement to thwart my efforts.

More times than not, the damsel dies from neglect—she’s a fragile creature.

I often find myself staring at my keyboard, but not the keys. I’m in the zone, formulating an idea. The idea bubbles and boils for a time before my finger is put to work. Once the thought is typed I read it, maybe switch things around and reread it. Too often the thought is crap, I delete it and ask myself: what were you thinking?

Still I plug away and now and then a story gets completed, typically after a few glasses of wine. It’s a great story in my mind, actually perfect, so I give up and go to bed.

Daylight and sobriety reveal many flaws that weren’t visible the night before. Incomplete thoughts and other missteps standout like a scarecrow in a plowed field. So, the first rewrite starts. One rewrite is never enough. Ten rewrites seem to be a minimum unless I work with an editor; even then I need at least five rewrites.

The process goes something like this:
1. Write story,
2. First rewrite,
3. Wait a day or two,
4. Second rewrite
5. Submit to editor,
6. Third rewrite,
7. Re-submit to editor,
8. Fourth rewrite.
9. Want to re-submit to editor, but afraid they’ll never work with me again, so I wait a day or two.
10. Fifth and final rewrite because I’m out of time.

Still, I like writing—no I love writing. I love the stimulus and the people I’ve met along the way among other things. I also love and appreciate reader feedback.

Good or bad, feedback is mother’s milk to a writer. It nourishes our inner muse and keeps us at it. If you golf, you know what I mean, it’s the one shot of the day that makes it all worthwhile. If you’re a seamstress, it’s the garment that blends fit, style and skill perfectly. Enough of the strained metaphors you might be thinking and if you shared that thought with me in a comment field, I’d be as happy as guacamole on a corn chip.

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Author: David P. Cantrell

I'm a retired baby-boomer enjoying life.

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