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  • Writer's pictureLise Parton

The Multiple Layers of Writing, A Reality Check

I had a dream, and I have always loved to write, but I totally have learned to recognize and respect all the multiple layers in the process of producing a book.


I want to take a few moments to shout out my respect to all the writers, published authors, poets, illustrators, editors, publishers, and other members of the writing community out there. In learning the business of writing, I am humbled by all the talented people in this world that exist in this amazing world of writing. I had a dream, and I have always loved to write, but I totally have learned to recognize and respect all the multiple layers in the process of producing a book.

It matters not that I am blessed to often find the inspiration and the words easily, so that I can slam down a poem or a story in my head faster than my hands can transcribe to capture it, but I have learned that putting the words on down paper is only the first step in the process.

I've been told before I am a "waterfall of words" when it comes to writing, but, in all honesty, what I share with the world upon completion, is a piece that has been written, rewritten and written again, analyzed and put under a microscope, read and reread and then read several times out loud, in order to be completed. And usually, even then, I have to put it down "to simmer" for a spell so I can later start working on it all over again with a fresh set of eyes.

I'm in my bliss when I'm writing, no matter what I am creating, but that is not to say it is always that easy. Definitely, the feeling of a quick fix is a blast of inspiration, usually in the form of a short, rhyming piece of poetry, wherein I gleefully experience a dose of instant gratification and a burst of joy after being able to knock off a piece so quickly. However, let me share that I can still feel a word or two, or a line or two striking me as 'not quite right’, and so I will go back several times, often dozens of times, to reread, re-edit and rewrite the piece before I am comfortably satisfied...and even then, I can get still get stuck on some intangible thing, listening to my inner critic that tells me that I am still not done.

I tell you this because sometimes people need a reality check on the whole process of writing and producing a polished piece. Sitting down and writing it is only the very first step in a whole set of processes that any written piece should, and must go through, to be completed. I say this out of respect for every hard-working writer, storyteller, poet, editor, illustrator and publisher out there. And you, dear reader, when you pick up a book and get happily lost in the words, just know that there has been a lot of work behind it.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that none of this applies if you are simply creating and writing something to express yourself in a private writing situation. Writing a diary or a private journal as therapy, should never see the light of day and be shared, it is a completely personal process, what we often refer to as "expressive writing". This method of writing is a highly therapeutic and beneficial means to assist anyone through the process of purging and expressing emotions by writing them down. It does not need to be reread and edited, spell-checked or laid down in perfect sentences.

However, this post is focusing on the business of writing, something where the plan is to share your project with the world. A plan may be to have it to be published, or, simply the plan might be to share it with someone by having it polished enough to be read aloud for entertainment, enjoyment or instructional purposes.

In any event, there are multiple layers to the business of writing, and I say this because I have found that some people have an incomplete perception of what this involves. In my experience, I have encountered a very high percentage of people who desire to write a book, (and let's face it, we all have multiple life stories within us), but many hesitate in getting started out of a fear of failure, the feeling of time and life restrictions, and basic lack of self-confidence. I still say, go for it. It’s a big job, but often a wonderful, and certainly a rewarding journey. Trust me, we have all heard about successful writers who were first rejected multiple times by publishers, and yet, the publisher who took the chance on that book ended up with a best seller. Many popular authors have been rejected time and time again before their manuscript found the light of day and was published. So don't give up if you have that dream.

In today's world there is a flood of self-publishing (which it is not always easy, especially on the first go-around, as there is a lot of learning and work involved), which can be misleading to those out there who still have to understand there is so many steps and layers to completing a written project, if your goal is to publish. We all have experienced the skew in perception when the smiling YouTuber in a 10-minute video tells you it is an easy-peasy thing to do and takes very little time, just follow the steps, 1, 2, 3 and voila, done!

I share all this for you, dear readers, not to discourage you, but to let you know that it can sometimes be a lot, saying that, there is an amazing payoff, too, for all the hard work when you have successfully completed and published a book. It is totally worth all the hours of work. And just remember, you do not have to do all the work yourself. The business of writing, like any other field, has many trained and knowledgeable specialists in many different areas. You can certainly write something, and then hand over your manuscript to multiple professionals, for the several editing levels, illustrating, (if need be), and/or publishing. There are so many options available in every step of the writing process, even if all you need is a strong writing community behind you for support, (and I do, thankfully.)

I'll admit, I'm a sponge for learning, and a tad stubborn, when I want to do something myself, so I like to handle most of the processes of producing a book myself. I will admit that when I took on the business of learning to create digital art to illustrate my own stories, I really banged around and frustrated a few brain cells, never mind my fingers, and parts of my aging body as I spent hours leaning over a brand new, later version, not so cheap iPad that I had to buy to be able to draw, paint and illustrate with the Apple Pencil in a new app. Whew! That was quite the learning curve for this older gal!

However, I would not trade in my hours of sitting on my iPad and computer, furiously pounding out the words and lines to a new story or poem, because when I am writing I am in my bliss. And even though I now realize there is tons of work involved to make something feel like it is fully completed, it is definitely worth it, and I'm excited for every new project I feel coming up on the horizon. So...whether I'm blissfully capturing butterfly-fluttering words coming to me easily, or slogging through a paragraph like my boots are stuck in the mud, the satisfaction, and the self-confidence I am rewarded with upon completion makes me truly happy, and after all, isn't that the best way to live? I say, sit down, roll up your sleeves and go for it! It's a lot of work, but it is totally worth it!

Just an end note to share as well, I often go back and read my own published books from time to time, even if I still have to silence my inner critic on this and that. I have to say I experience such joy by reading my own pages. Sometimes I am lost, once again, in my story with my characters living on their paths, and sometimes I am taken back to a place in my life that created the inspiration for my story, some event, or revisiting a time or a place that fuelled the ideas within the book. It's so cool.

In any event, go ahead and try whatever it is you want to write, for writing is a rewarding experience, with or without publishing. Take the first step, pick up a pen and paper, or open a new file in your computer. It is a great way to spend time with yourself, and open you up to a multi-layered world. Just know, that if you want to finish and publish your project, there is a hard-working but rewarding journey ahead of you.

Cheers! Lise

Photo courtesy of linkedin-sales-solutions on unsplash



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