Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

Instead of writing this blog post, I spent the better part of my evening writing the first draft of my submission for the HamilTEN Festival. This wasn’t a bad thing of course,  I was writing something I desperately needed to write (THE SUBMISSION PERIOD ENDS DECEMBER 18th!!!) but while writing my script it made me think of my writing in general, or more so how I write.

I’m not much of an outliner or someone who plots out a lot of what a story will look like before I write it. I might have a vague idea of how it starts, how it ends. Sometimes it’s just a sentence, sometimes it’s a character. It’s always different, but whatever it is I start with that small thing and just write and see where I go. Sometimes I begin writing one way thinking I know how it’s going to end only to learn while writing it that another ending works better.

I just write and see what happens, and so far that’s worked for me, but it doesn’t come without problems. The main one being that I write and make a lot of mistakes, usually a lot of simple grammatical ones.

Sometimes I think I’m the only person in the world who at nearly twenty-five can’t differentiate the different types of there/eir/y’re’s. I have the last one down pat, that one’s the easiest, but the other two always throw me. There are the tricks I’ve been told a thousand times and the constant circling of them on my papers, but it’s just something that doesn’t stick.

And I make other mistakes too, changes in tenses, a singular instead of a plural, all those little mistakes that I miss. I’m sure a lot of you have found spelling and grammatical errors in my other blog posts, which I know is ironic for someone who wants to pursue a career in editing. And I do edit my blog posts, not as well as I should (yes, I’ll admit to that) but I try to focus more on the writing, though when it comes to publishing things on the internet the two kind of go hand in hand.

I’ve noticed it while participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo, all those red underlines, random capitals, and character name changes (it takes me forever to name things, just ask my cats) and the thought of editing it later kind of panics me, because I have to perfect this story for January for a contest and it seems like such an impossible task, especially when there are already so many mistakes in it, when it’s already so imperfect. But it’s out there, or it’s starting to, the words. It’s getting there, forming something, and I like it so far.

I don’t think that makes me a bad writer though, because grammar and spelling can always be fixed, but story structure, and the writing of the story itself, can’t. Not that that’s great either, though I can’t comment on that. I just mean that for me as a writer it’s more important to get those words out of my head than to constantly go back while writing and make sure it makes sense. I’d rather waste my time writing it all out than going back to edit and finishing nothing in the process.

And it doesn’t make me a bad editor either, just because I don’t always notice the mistakes in my own writing (someday when I write a book I don’t intend on being my own editor) it doesn’t mean I don’t notice or can’t edit someone else’s.

But again, writing and editing do go hand in hand, especially when finishing and perfecting a finished piece (which I haven’t done novel wise YET but will, soon hopefully), so how do I fix it?

Maybe I should start looking at my own writing like a strangers, completely divorce myself from my writing when I look at it and see it as someone else’s to critique.

Easier said than done, but it’s a start I guess.

(Image found here.)


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