The Creep Factor!


No, no, not the sort of creep you might find lurking on dark corners,  although many stories will have them, too – this is a good sort of creep – this is the slow realization that comes when you can actually see improvement in your writing and all your efforts are finally amounting to something.

It happens in increments.

When I was little and wanted to be a writer, I though I just had to take the time to do the work. That was true, but it was also a very simple-minded concept (as I was under ten years old at the time, that can be forgiven).

The very first thing I learned was that writing a story is not as easy as it seems. Somehow the words didn’t convey what I wanted them to convey. They stubbornly continued to elude my aims no matter how I shuffled them over the years. They got better, but still missed the mark. Again and again.

Over the decades, I came to learn that I could see my writing the clearest if I put it aside and came back to it once I’d forgotten what I’d written. I gradually came to understand that the clarity that came was due to seeing what was on the page without linking it straight into the fiery imagination of my soul.

When you write, you do it with every ounce of your being. Your imagination is in full swing, your passion is blazing away, you’re seeing the scenes, hearing the words, you know the tone and the moves – all of them.

When you put that on paper, you capture what you can – but if you read it back while still abuzz from your inner processing, you will again see and hear and know everything there is to know, everything that should be there. What that might mean is that what you see on the page is not what your readers will see. You’ve got full screen, full-color, full-sound, full-everything, while your readers only have the words you give them.

So you put it aside, totally in love with it, then pick it up a month later expecting the same thrills and excitement. And that’s when it all falls horribly flat. You’ll look at your work and you’ll think, That’s not how it was, that’s not what I saw, that’s not what I’m trying to say.

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