Writing petrifies me: the very idea of it. Once I start, I’m fine. But the propsect of setting pen to paper, so to speak, freezes me. I’ve been late with every writing assignment I’ve had for the magazines. Not because it takes me a long time to finishe, but because it takes me forever to start.
There are probably lots of reasons for this, but mostly I just don’t think I’m up to it. I think whatever I write won’t be “good enough” – outside of high school and one college course, I don’t have any training. And when I read other people’s stuff I always edit it in my head, and I know there will be somebody out there doing the same to me. The weird thing is, when I finally do finish writing something, I feel I’m less than diligent in rereading it and cleaning it up, as if I just want the thing gone. I eventually do go back, but no matter how many changes I make, when I read it later I always think I could have made it better.
Then there’s the real editor. So far I’ve been lucky in that most of my stuff has appeared in print pretty much as I wrote it. Not this most recent bit, though. I reviewed a Civil War themed DVD – a full review, not in brief – that came in just over 800 words. But since I was late and most of the magazine had already been laid out, my editor had to cut it down to around 500 words. I understand why he had to do it, and he did his best to keep the overall feel of the review. Still, despite the fact I always think I could have done better, it feels like a violation when someone changes something. Luckily, in this case I received permission from the editor to run the review here in its original form once the magazine hits the news stand. So, I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice.