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  • Writer's pictureLise Parton

Lesson 5: Letting The Pot (Your Story) Simmer

I cannot count the number of times I have worked on a story and missed something. Sometimes it is a grammatical error, or a structural error in a sentence.


Maybe it is a word that is improperly used or spelled incorrectly, or maybe I have repeated the same word too many times. Sometimes it can just be a simple element but I miss it as I write, and then I may miss it again as I start my editing processes. Like more salt I might need to add to a simmering pot of soup on the stove, or a little extra tweak of some flavour, everyone’s story or poem should have some time to simmer.

Sometimes when I am in my excited enthusiasm to complete a poem or story and want to immediately share it out into the world, I have to try and stop myself, to get myself to close my iPad or close the document on my computer and to walk away. Sometimes it happens naturally as I get interrupted by a life moment of one sort or another, but sometimes I have to make the conscious effort to stop fiddling with whatever the piece is and to walk away. When I come back to my work (sometimes days, weeks, or in one or two instances, years later) inevitably some change often jumps right out at me, often some little word or element to my piece that should have been so simple to see, but I missed it. I may even spot a clear, new, fresh perspective and direction to complete the piece properly. Yes, another ‘taste’ of my story says, “Ah, that is what you need,” or, “that is what you missed or are lacking on the first (or second, or third) go-around.”

I often write at lightning speed, with my poor, little pink digits trying to keep up to transcribe my thoughts to my device. I will admit (and have been told) that I’m a ‘waterfall of ideas’, or, ‘I write like a flowing waterfall’ when I scribe, and I am very grateful for that, be sure. However, when I get my written stories or poems down, sometimes there is quite a bit of work to get it right or completed in one way, shape or another. It is what it is.

And so, my tiny bit of advice to you as you are out there writing, or maybe even finishing a writing piece, is to let your pot simmer for a while. Put it down, close the document, walk away, and do something else, because after you later return you will most likely discover at least one tiny gem, or something you missed, that you can now change or add to improve your story. When you refresh, later look at your piece with new eyes, and take another ‘taste from the pot’, you might be delighted to find out easily what you missed, or what you can do to improve your story as your ingredients, your words and your sentences meld to blend into the perfect dish.

Happy writing (and simmering)!

Cheers! Lise

*photo courtesy of Edgar Castrejon on Unplash


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