The Morning After

For the majority of my professional writing career, I’ve prided myself on the speed at which I work — an ability to basically sit down, start writing and get to the end of the piece in a surprisingly speedy time, with minimal need to re-read or re-work as much as possible. It’s been something that’s been remarked upon by editors and other writers, with no small amount of jealousy and admiration; hence my lack of modesty about it.

Something has happened in the last couple of months to change that, however. I suspect the change happened earlier than that — I have a feeling it’s closely related to the period of extended writing I did for a couple of long term projects last year, only one of which has come to any kind of fruition as yet — but whatever the timing and whatever the reason, I’ve become a fan of writing things ahead of deadline and leaving them alone overnight, before re-reading them the next day and making whatever changes necessary.

It’s not that I make that many changes the next day; more often than not, I change a couple of words in a vain attempt to get the word count down, or perhaps shift the order of a couple of sentences around. Instead, it’s become a confidence thing, where I find myself feeling far more comfortable just being able to re-approach the piece fresh and see where I’ve gone wrong. It’s a safety net, perhaps, but one I’ve come to rely upon with almost everything I’m writing, these days. (Blog posts aside, of course.)

It’s this safety net that’s had me rework pieces from scratch, knowing exactly what to do to fix them in next-to-no time; it’s the safety net that’s made me more confident in working for larger companies paying me larger amounts of money to write for them. Sure, it’s slowed me down some, but I’m nearing 50. Writing automatic prose is a young person’s game — and it’s not as if waiting one day is going to make a significant change in anyone’s run time, anyway.

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