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Write Editing Creating Fixing

As an independent writer, we must do most things on our own. Editing is one such role. Many of us can outsource it to a loved one or a trusted reader, while others can afford to pay a third party much of the editing needs to be done inside the moments of creation and then soon after.

What we write can take on the form of a lot of characteristics, whether this happens to be fiction or non-fiction. The subject matter may vary it can be joyous and fluffy, bland and dull but it can also be heavy and taxing. The emotional content of the written piece may be hard to reinvoke at times. This is part of the creating process and I should imagine that this is relevant for all mediums.

For me as a writer, when writing non-fictions I can often find myself bored with sport and fight related material. This is likely because I often speak about this in the day to day or because I have spent many years on this subject matter. Often I feel as though I am repeating myself or that no matter what is being said, it really does not matter. What ever conclusions I may have drawn from my experiences they are subjective to the decisions of others. Choice is involved and in the end the consequences are minor.

I find more passion and importance in writing about war and policy. About those matters that are widespread and that have a consequence of extreme misery. It would be arrogant to assume that anything I or many others could write or have written would change the course of future human history. But to sit and remain silent as so much horror is being done is terrifying. Whoever wishes to read such words or wishes to know these truths then the limp words of those who were there or who sit in distant comfort but with as much care as they dare, then thank you.

To bear mute witness to atrocity or to simplify it in a debate between partisan good and evil defies the true nature of government and mass murder. It removes the extremist extremes and mushes them into a context that some how we can support. Or deny. Writing about such miserable but very real moments in the human span is not desirable. But it is a duty I feel that I should obey. I have perhaps a dozen incomplete pieces on such topics that I have failed to finish.

Whether my failure is due to lacking energy to fulfill this task or more likely
a lack of talent in doing such victims a true justice. It does not matter. The words have not come together and then pathetic whisper that I may throw into the chaotic winds has not challenged the screams of inevitability.

For fiction it is far more complicated. As a teller of stories we are able to create worlds and characters that we know. These worlds and people of our minds have aspects of our personality or experience that we can then share with others. Whether this is simply to entertain or because we wish to put up a mirror to the world and reveal aspects of it that many seek to ignore. Then that is for us as writers to attempt.

In make believe we have a power that we do not have in non-fiction, we can steer the course of individuals we can determine outcomes. We are Gods of our own creations. This has its own taxing effects however. Because we have a great responsibility to those we are creating and should we ever become successful, to those who are joining in on our stories. They have become invested and are giving our energies their time.

In the real world we lack such power. We are impotent and see an imperfect world through a splintered vision. We then try to tell others what we have witnessed and learned. What we admit about it is just as important as what we omit. The truth and facts are relevant to our own biased narrative. Sometimes, non-fiction is not happy and does not end well.

For our story telling of make believe we can make it as coherent and perfect as we wish. The emotions that we wish to invoke must be within us in the first place, we expose ourselves to the reader. If we lack empathy or humor then it will be hard for us to infuse our creations with such warmth. And if we are oblivious to pain, then it can also be hard to tell their experiences in those desperate moments of suffering.

For me, so far as a writer much of my fiction has not been happy or fun. They are stories that are in some cases allegories or compressions of a wider world that does exist. Characterisations of very real moments and people merged into a stereotype of my mind. The innocent, the pure, the protagonists are often enduring and suffering a journey that is not desired.

As a writer, this is hard to sometimes do. To put a creation through a dark moment in order to tell a story feels sadistic. Though they lack flesh and blood, to the writer they are living. This is when you sometimes realise that you are just bearing witness to a story, that while you are making it up has to happen. It is their story and in life, not all things are joyous and without trial. Whatever strengths and weaknesses that they have, we too share.

Perhaps in some way, unlike with non-fiction, through the words of make believe the pretend characters can be inspiring as they over come their ordeals. Or should they fall short, we on the outside can share with them that experience as well. It is something after all that most of us relate with.

In the editing, the last and final edits, those that are made in the very end of telling a story sometimes we have left the bubble that we were in when we told a story. If it is a fun story, it may be hard to energise our minds again because something in the real world has depressed us. But for me, as is often the case in my stories, it is the darkness that the characters are undergoing that I may not wish to revisit.

Strange as that is, after all I can delete my own words. Write as I please. But in the editing stage, I am truly watching the events unfold. Now all that I can do is to clean it up so that it is easier to witness, clearer for the reader to understand. Sometimes my own pre imagined visualisation of the events can cloud what I am reading, the words may be incorrect in front of me yet they do not appear that way. Though weeks or years later when revisiting such a piece the errors are clear as day.

But sometimes daylight struggles to get through the weather and clouds. Telling a story is hard enough. Telling it well is a talent. It is a journey to write in itself, like any skill set it requires dedication and discipline but most of all modesty. One can’t assume arrogance. The negative advice and criticism is the most desired, it helps us to repair and upskill. Most of all negative opinions can often only come from those who read and apparently suffered your writing.

This piece was completely unedited without any proofreading…..

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