For me, writing is like a long walk. I go along looking at the landscape, watching the trees, and gather my inspiration. When I move up hills, I’m actively brainstorming all parts of my story. What do I want to convey? How shall I express what I’m thinking? I type out the story as I think it, sort of a stream of consciousness with punctuation. I tend toward verbosity, so I always need to edit, taking out unnecessary words. An old friend nicknamed me “Miss Verbose,” and to my chagrin, she’s right! This part of my walk is the real exercise, and I feel my muscles pulling just enough to let me know they exist.
Then, when I’m on level ground again, and resting a bit, I’m inhaling the smells of pine and juniper, and feeling the emotions involved in my story. I also look at the mechanics of the story. Have I expressed my main point, but in a literary fashion (not so cut and dried)? Where in it, could I say things better, or more succinctly? Is the piece too long? Could I say what I mean in 3 pages, or must it be 5?
Finally, as I descend the grand hill I’ve just climbed, I read it over to myself. Are there places where if I was reading it aloud, my tongue would stumble over awkwardness? Are there typos or punctuation changes that need to be made? When I think it is just about perfect, I table it for a day or two, and then re-read it again. I always regret when I don’t take that extra time because I’m in a hurry, or feel impatient. After I’ve been immersed in a story for quite a while, it is easy to become smug and self-satisfied, and miss things. I attend a writer’s group here in my little town, and we read each other our stories on a weekly basis. Reading my material out loud helps me find the awkward parts, and what I don’t catch, the others in my group often will.
When I reach home after my trek, I feel either calm and peaceful about what I’ve written, or a little uneasy if something isn’t quite right. I listen to myself, and am attuned to the smallest nuances. When I’m rested and focused, I’ll look at the story again to see if it is just how I want it. Sometimes, I’ll give it to a friend to read for feedback. Then I’ll veg out in front of the television for a while and let my brain rest! An overworked brain can be as troublesome as a large rock covered by brush!