Writing & Revision: My 4 Steps


Everyone has a different way for doing anything and everything.  When discussing the writing process, some prefer typing over handwriting and vice versa.  Which is better for someone starting their writing career?  You must figure that out on your own.  Some people type faster than they write.  Others cannot type at all.  Try both and decide which one works best for you.  You will eventually have to type your work, but the first step should feel easy and natural, so you can get your thoughts out quickly before you lose them.  These steps are my process and may not work for you.  This is just a guide to help you find your own process.

1.  Write the Rough Draft

I prefer writing by hand.  I always have.  I can ink out the words on paper faster than I will ever type.  My hand can keep up with my brain and before I know it, I have written four pages.  I am not against typing the first draft, but I save that for short blog articles or lists.  Long form fiction; I am writing that by hand and will not type until the short story or chapter is finished.

2.  Type the Rough Draft

When I finally go back and read what I wrote, I am shocked at how many grammatical mistakes I made.  Things are misspelled or missing letters (seriously); it looks like a jumbled mess.  Fortunately, I know what I thought when I wrote those terrible sentences, so I correct them as I type.  Sometimes I forget to write down a thought I had.  I do not know how I missed it but I add this in as I type.  If I had typed the rough draft first, I would spend more time correcting mistakes as I go than getting the words out.  This is why I handwrite first.  I get everything saved on my computer, fixing the minor grammar and spelling errors.  The 2nd draft is finished.

3.  The First Revision

I consider this the first real revision.  I print the document; 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, double spaced.  The focus of this revision is to flush out the ideas and expand the details.  Depending on what the story needs, I will add dialogue and build better character descriptions.  I make sure there are no plot holes unless I want to have plot holes.  I remove the passive voice in every sentence.  I remove the words “is” and “was” and rewrite the sentences so everything still makes sense.  Some sentences I delete all together.  I make the notations in ink and then I make the corrections on the digital file.  The 3rd draft is finished.

4.  The Show & Tell Revision

I always heard people criticize my writing by saying, “Show me, don’t tell me.”  The annoying aspect of this criticism; they never offered any examples.  Plainly put, I did not know what they were talking about.  I had to learn this on my own.  This is the most difficult part of revision for me and can result in multiple drafts during this step.  You revise and have a fourth draft, but you have more to show so you write a fifth draft; and so on until you have the best story ever written.  An easy out with this is using dialogue to describe things in the story.  Otherwise, you have to find ways to describe the anger in a character without saying, “This character felt angry.”  The writing process never ends and will always take longer than you prefer.

As I mentioned before, everyone’s process is different.  Experiment.  Try new things and learn what works best for you.  There is no right or wrong way.  Some things to remember; if you want to get published in a magazine or have a book traditionally published, you need to eliminate all the passive voice and always show not tell.  The more writing you do, the better you become.  Keep writing.  Keep revising.  Keep submitting to online journals.  The difference between successful people and everyone else is successful people have failed more times than everyone else has tried.  Never give up; never surrender.

2018 Starts Rough

We are one month in to 2018 and my life is already a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  While leaving out the extreme personal stuff, like my daily battle with anxiety, I will attempt to give you a recap of my life and my many misadventures.  For starters, I no longer work at a bar which is psychologically satisfying.  I served 5 years as the Head of Security and this only added more stress and magnified my anxiety.  I jumped off the boat at the first opportunity that presented itself.

This brought about other complications.  I had a couple weeks of free time and this was painful.  My mind rebels at stagnation.  With a bit of motivation from some minor grief, I have been writing up a storm.  I finished the first draft of a novel back in November and I have slowly started the revision process along with revising several short stories I have neglected.  Recent motivations caused me to write a screenplay, first one, and it has been revised once.  I am hoping to produce the film within the year, but it does not follow a traditional film script, and this could cause complications.

I have also started writing online articles in the hopes of starting a writing career.  I wrote a couple articles for BuzzFeed and you can view them Here.  I also have a couple articles on my LinkedIn profile and you can view those Here.  The writing I am most proud of are the articles featured on TheMighty.com.  These articles help me cope with and better understand my anxiety and it is a great place for people with any disorder to go and feel like a part of a community.  Just because you are struggling does not mean you are broken.  You can view all those articles Here.

As far as work and making money, I have actually turned down a couple jobs because I did not want to work some crap office job that I would hate after a couple years, just like every other job I have ever done.  I am trying my hand at this freelance gig and hope that it pays off.  I need more writing projects and I am already working on doing more in the entertainment industry of Tucson with my company, VaudVil.  It will be a long process and none of it will be easy, but I am so much more satisfied with my life even with all the uncertainty.  I think I am finally ready for my future.

Don’t Set Goals for the New Year; Set Goals for Life


As the year comes to a close, one reflects on everything that has transpired.  So many horrible things have happened and yet, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  I have nothing but a sense of hope for the coming new year.  I feel there will be more tragedies and horrors for the world overall but my personal life, my small world, my tiny existence is about to move into a place it has never been.  I cannot say exactly what I mean because I personally don’t even know what I mean.  Things will get better.

Here are some of the hopes, dreams, and goals I have for the coming year.  I hope to get a new job that does not involve working nights and hopefully pays well.  Arguing and wrestling with drunks lost its appeal many years ago and I hope to never work in a bar environment for the rest of my life.  With a new job that frees up my nights and weekends, I will perhaps have more of a social life.  Although, I’ve never been much of a social person due to my anxiety, but I will have the opportunity and that makes me happy.

Having recently finished the first draft of a novel, I know that my writing endeavors will evolve over the next year.  My skills as a writer are growing and there are several things I need to work on to improve but I have the tools I need to achieve this.  I feel I will surely have something published soon.  If not in 2018, I will definitely have something published in 2019.  I hope to have more blog entries starting with this one.  I will not make any promises other than writing more.  Less concrete goals work better for me.

I have always felt I would change the world with my writing but felt there were many obstacles and barriers preventing my achievement of this.  I believe I know what these barriers are and I have a plan for removing them one at a time.  It will be a long process but I will achieve my goals.  I want to mention that all these hopes and dreams and goals are not New Year Resolutions.  They are simply goals one sets in one’s life.  My New Year Resolution is the same every year.  Be awesome and feel sexy.  I meet this goal every day of every year.

I hope to bring some of my newly found skills in writing to you, the public of potential or aspiring writers.  There are many things I was told over the years about writing but no one could ever offer examples of how to achieve these things.  Sometimes I thought they were just regurgitating what others had always told them.  I have found examples of these common things to avoid and, more importantly, examples of how to fix them.  It will take some time to implement these changes but I feel confident that I will finally reach success.