“Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.”
- Matthew Arnold
In the book called “300 Days of Better Writing” by David Bowman, the author claims this to be likely his favorite quote on the subject of writing. When I was a child, I asked myself what I wanted most, and the answer stuck with me ever since: To understand, and be understood.
Communication is simply the sending and receiving of messages. The written word is a popular and important medium through which communication happens. I have spent several years studying the subject of communication and thus have developed a lot of undstanding and awareness in the field. As a side effect, I've also developed an unhealthy habit of scrutinizing my writing, before I write.
I began removing this form of "writer's block" with self-forgiveness in yesterday's post. Sitting there judging everything I'm about to write before I write can be daunting and often unproductive, and yet, I still want to articulate the concepts I have swirling around in my head in a way that resonates with you, the reader. To accomplish this, I have to put in the effort to improve my writing skills and refine my first drafts when and as needed.
Editing, for me, has been the crucial missing piece. It is the most resisted part of my writing process. For example, I loved procrastinating school papers until the last minute so that I could force myself to have to submit what was essentially my first draft. Looking at it now - it's like I couldn't bare the fact that my writing didn't come out of me perfectly on the first try. And now, i often post blogs without reading what i have written.
So, in light of The Perfect Writer Complex post that I wrote last night, I'm not just going to get sloppy with my writing because I've letting go of this need to produce masterpieces. On the contrary, I'm going to put in more effort to write masterfully.
This is a great example of where self-forgiveness can seem to be a contradiction. Especially in the beginning of my process, I struggled with doing self-forgiveness on positive things. Like girls and music. I loved those things, and to do self-forgiveness on my desire for women and on how good music made me feel seemed absurd. I don't want to stop these things, let alone do I believe them to be wrong...and here's where the erroneous contadiction stems, from this right-wrong polarity construct. How I write, isn't right or wrong. It's more about what I bring to the table.
The key distinguishing factor is how much effort I'm putting forth. To sit and judge my writing before and during the process is the easy way, the mind way. To gather my thoughts, outline, research, draft, and edit - that takes a lot of effort. It's hard work investing the time and effort into the before and after of writing, the preparation and revision processes, but it's a worthy investment. I've been doing the opposite, putting in all my effort, time, and energy into my mind as my inner critic, during the most crucial moment of self-expression. So, I'll further clarify the distinguishing factor to be: How much PHYSICAL effort am I putting forth? Before, during, and after.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to resist re-reading and editing my writing.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself desire my writing to be perfect on the first try, and so resist going back through my writing because my ego might take a hit.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to become frustrated with myself when I re-read what I have written and see that it requires a lot of attention and revisions.
I forgive myself for accepted and allowing myself to become frustrated when I'm editing my work because I believe that "no matter how much I change it, it will never be perfect."
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to have the backchat, "...it will never be perfect."
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to connect "...it will never be perfect," with the feeling of overwhelming frustration - and in this experience a defeatedness and desire to give up trying.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to move in the direction of giving up trying when and as I see that my writing requires multiple revisions.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not see, realize, and understand that it is okay to write a sloppy first draft.
I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to just write and express myself in a natural flow of imperfection, while having full intent to go back through my writing to edit mistakes and refine for enhanced clarity.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to worry about making mistakes and errors while I'm writing my first draft.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to worry about not communicating myself clearly on the first try.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself resist and resent the editing process, instead of defining it as a perfectly acceptable component of the writing process.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as stupid if and when I do not communicate myself clearly on the first try.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as inauthentic when I do not express myself effectively on the first try.
I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to resist editing because I've defined it to be a separate and optional part of the writing process that requires additional work and time to do.
Redefinition for editing: double checking my work to ensure accuracy when transferring my expression into the written word; a necessary component of the writing process.
I commit myself to re-read every post to this blog before I publish it.
I commit myself to live my redefinition of editing.
I commit myself to really investigate that which I resist, so that I may expose whatever ego-driven systems that are severely hindering my process.
I commit myself to be accepting of my initial self-expression, knowing full well that I can revise and change myself accordingly.
I commit myself to breathing more effort into my writing process.
I commit myself to breathing more effort into all processes of self-expression - proactively investigating particular skills, and retrospectively investigating my expression within self-honesty.