Tag Archives: editing

When a Writer Gets Cold Feet

Aside from writer’s block, could there be a worse feeling than a sudden bout of analysis paralysis over hitting the “Enter” button to send or publish a written work?

Over the course of 204 blog posts, I am very fortunate in that it has not happened often, but it does… and it freaks me out each time!

When I published my first few blog posts back in 2013, I think it was perfectly understandable to take a moment …or two …or three to think twice before hitting “Publish” in my WordPress application as I was sending my work on the World Wide Web to be seen and read by anybody with a computer and a connection.

Does my post say anything that might inadvertently rub someone the wrong way? Could something be taken out of context or misconstrued? Could a blog post cast a negative light on anyone or anything, even if I went to great pains to ensure it did not? Will it generate any negative mail?

It’s a lot of pressure to take in as a new blogger, more so than the idea “will anyone read it?” Frankly if the latter was my problem, there would be little pressure.

But over time, as my written works were met with a warm reception, kind comments and a generous spirit of encouragement from readers and fellow writers, the pressure mostly passed.

But when I write a piece, especially one that has been incubating in my mind and on paper for several days, weeks or even months, why is it only when I am about to hit Enter (or even worse, shortly thereafter) that I get cold feet? Continue reading

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The Art of Suspending Judgement during the First Draft

typewritersIf there is one thing that puts me in a writing “analysis paralysis”, it’s to be editing a first draft at the same time as I am writing it. What seems to work for me is to metaphorically send the “editor” part of my brain away to another room in the house and to let the creative writer in me just do his thing.

The first draft is that time when I feel completely free, knowing that the incompatible elements will drop off later if they are not meant to be. But the critical first step is to get those ideas on paper and to not break the flow.

Even in business, suspending judgement is a key ground rule for a great brainstorming session. In writing, I like to think that this translates to leaving the editor’s hat alone until a solid foundation of ideas is established.

Only then is it realistic to determine whether ideas are viable, to rearrange the order in which the ideas are presented and finding the best ways to articulate them.

Viability of ideas

With my blog, there have been times that I thought I had a dynamite idea for a blog topic, but after a few writing sessions, I found out that the idea lost momentum or fizzled out after 300 words. Most times, I would park it to see if other ideas might hit me later, but when they don’t, it may just end up in the graveyard of blog posts. The topic still seemed like a good idea in my head, but after trying to work through it on paper, it didn’t quite make it. Continue reading

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Would I Have Been a Good Writer, Had I Started Earlier?

I tend to think that the road of life I travelled was indeed meant to be uniquely mine, with all the potholes, hitch hikers, detours, storms and speed bumps I experienced along the way, as well as those stretches of smooth, dry pavement and clear weather conditions.

But it does not stop me from sometimes wondering if I had started writing earlier, with a greater sense of commitment to my craft, what kind of writer would I have become? Would I have been any good?

When I look back on childhood, I shake my head at my attitude toward teachers who forced us to write drafts of our compositions. I remember thinking that drafts were a huge waste of time because I wrote what I meant and I got it right the first time. Oh my, how times have changed!

When I read my journals from the early days (before I was journaling with a purpose), I see the seeds of creativity and the fire within, already yearning to tell stories. The stories in question may have been a little shallow, but a writer needs to start somewhere.

When I look back at some of the work I posted on my former web site “The Spin on Life at 33 1/3” (before blogs became popular), I do see the building blocks of who I am as a writer today. I surprise myself when I am able to crack a smile at stories I wrote almost two decades ago. And I also see how far I have come as a writer and how my style and execution have evolved and refined. Continue reading

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How Writing is like Decorating a Christmas Tree


I sometimes surprise myself with the fact that writing a blog post, for me, is rarely a linear process. I don’t sit down, write it from beginning to end, edit from top to bottom and then post it. Maybe someday.

For me, it starts as ideas, sometimes sentences, which the little writer’s voice pitches at me. Then, I will sit down and start building the outline, like the tree trunk and the branches, of how the blog post might flow around those ideas.

The next step is to take the outline and add a few more words, as it begins looking like an actual blog post, like adding garland to fill in any gaps left behind by Mother Nature.

But then the little writer’s voice steps back into the picture, like a back seat driver, pitching more complementary ideas at me as I am starting to write. I jot them down and into the story wherever they might fit, like the first ornaments on the tree. I hope for the best.

When life happens and I need to move a load of laundry to the dryer, Ivy the cat needs attention or something needs to be taken out of the oven, what a surprise… another idea strikes! Continue reading

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Could Rejected Passages Tell a Story of Their Own?

typewritersWhen I see original drafts of sheet music for iconic songs selling for millions of dollars at auction, or scraps of paper written by legendary authors or historical figures as artifacts in a museum, I wonder: would anyone be interested in the drafts leading to my own completed works? Should I be saving my drafts?

As a humble little blogger and aspiring author, I know it would be like a lottery win to achieve rock star status in the literary world. I have no plans or aspirations to that effect. As long as I am able to write, I am happy. If readers enjoy my work along the way, that is a huge bonus which makes me so very grateful.

I was just going through my shredding pile, watching page after page of blog drafts get ground up into confetti. While on the one hand, I applaud myself for not letting clutter accumulate, on the other, I can’t help but ask if this might be “the one” that might change the world.

Could this possibly be the blog post that journals will be quoting?

Could this be the blog post that English teachers will be dissecting for students for generations to come?

Could this be the blog post that will generate discussion and debate among scholars?

Could this be the one for which its original drafts would be a treasured artifact, long after I have written my last word? Continue reading

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How Proof Reeding Can Make Or Break A Blog

TypewriterAs a new writer and blogger, even in the very beginning it was apparent that to retain readers and build a loyal following, proofreading was critical.

Frankly I have always been a bit of a stickler for good spelling and grammar, even as a child, and as a result, I pride myself on calling myself a word nerd. There is nothing more disheartening than going back to read an earlier blog post and finding that a spelling or grammatical mistake squeaked through despite my best efforts (and all the tools at hour disposal).

To me, not only is it important from a pride of ownership perspective, but it is vital also too gain credibility as a writer, a blogger and eventually, as an author.

I realize that for a writer it is sometimes a challenge to edit our own work, but we must accept it, make piece with it, and find ways of separating the act of writing from the act of editing.

Sometimes, it could be as simple as working a creative peace and then parking it four a few hours or a few daze, and then engage the brain in the editing process after the break. The time away can offer distance and an opportunity two review the work again with a fresh pear of eyes.

Similarly, printing the work and reviewing a paper version is another way to halve an oppportunity to review a creative work from a different perspective, and potentially cache mistakes before hitting the “publish” button.

For sum of us with eyes that are getting older, choosing “Select All” and then increasing the font size or selecting “View” and “Zoom’ to get a closer took is another chance to view text from a different angle
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The point is that there there is no single way two proofread text, there is a multitude of options. The point is that too keep a reader engaged and wanting more, proofreading is a necessity. The brain can bee somewhat unforgiving when it comes to,

Four myself, I know that just trying two reed works that contained to many spelling or grammatical errors makes it difficult two want to continue reading.

Four that reason, I dew my very best in ensuring quality control to ensure the work flows seamlessly and that all sentences and paragraphs are.

Dear readers, if you have made it to the end of the post, I sincerely thank you for your perseverance… and I wish everyone a Happy April Fool’s Day! Cheers!

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Behind the Scenes of Blogging – Then and Now

In a recent review of my blog statistics, I was delighted that so many nice people took time out of their busy day to check out my “About” page. Then I shrieked with fright at the realization that I was so busy building my content that I had not updated that page since I first started blogging in the fall of 2013. It was time to have another look.

When I read it over, it wasn’t too bad. A little wordy, a few long paragraphs, it wasn’t horrible but it needed a little work. At the same time, I realized that my writing style for blogging had already evolved in just a couple of years.

In doing so, a walk down memory lane emerged, much like those retrospective episodes of “The Golden Girls” that took place around the kitchen table over late night cheesecake…

Wow! I have been writing this blog for almost two and a half years. How much has changed in that time.

Blogging – Then

“Picture it, Ottawa, October 2013, an aspiring young writer takes the plunge into the world of blogging. He isn’t quite sure about his blogging voice, his point of view as a writer or even what to write about in a blog. All he knows is that he wants to write more than life itself.”

I was not entirely a novice at it as I was already the author of a web site back from 2000 to 2002. It was my space for posting funny stories and observations, before blogging had really taken off. But still, the same apprehensions emerged: Where do I start? What do I write about?

The obvious answer was Continue reading

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