Like any craftsperson, a writer creates a work in a gradual way. Houses are built one brick at a time, paintings come to life one brush stroke at a time, and stories and articles come together one word at a time.
Again, this past week, I’ve been cramming words into the spaces I can manage. Progress is happening slowly but surely. One article did get finished and has been pitched to the first outlet. I wanted to finish the other but the week at work kind of exploded. And Cold Iron progresses. As few words as I’ve been able to weave into that rewrite, I’m not disappointed in the work that’s been done. I know what I’m doing is an improvement, and the overall result will be much better than it was.
I used to think, in my hubris, that it was only poets who agonized over single words while writing. Not so. A misplaced or misused word in the middle of an otherwise immaculate sentence can cause the whole affair to fall apart. It’s not just grammar, either. When writing, the words must be chosen carefully so the scene being constructed in the reader’s head makes sense, at least to a degree. You can be obscurist or gonzo if you really want, but even then some coherence is required to convey an idea.
Remember, you’re not going to please everyone. It’s impossible. Our disparate points of view inform our opinions and we are each allowed to have those opinions. You may think a particular storyline, character, or conclusion is brilliant, but someone else may be poking holes in it. Just remember to respect one another in your discussions, listen to what’s actually being said, and craft your responses one word at a time. You may not be able to persuade the other side, but it’s still a positive experience if you can walk away from it instead of running.