Rough Drafting — Accepting Imperfection and Getting the Words out Without Giving Yourself a Headache

A New Page

Just over a month ago I began reconstructing this (all but abandoned) blog to encompass more of what is important to me. In that time, I’ve learned more about SEO, making Canva graphics*, Pinterest, and even started several drafts of what I think will be excellent posts to move forward with.

*No, I am not good at them yet, obviously.

The Setup

First, old posts needed tidying up, categories and tags changed and organized, alt text and description on photos, and on and on and on.

Seriously, if anyone can send me a link for easiest way to make a TOC that looks nice within a theme (without css), I’ll write you a limerick or something.

Then the new drafts needed graphics, resources, relevant links, better display, optimized images, the rainbow fart cloud of one unicorn, and a spare kidney.

Plot Twist

All of this was actually going well until a chain of events scrambled my head flaring nasty cognitive impairments.

For weeks now I’ve been on brain rest which has kept me from reading, social media, bright lights, and–the worst for writing–cognitive strain.

There’s no problem starting a post, assuming the screen isn’t too much or it’s possible to write eyes closed. The earth-bound asteroid here is stopping to think of perfect word or making editing decisions while writing; trying to stay on track when snagging a link and coming back to a paragraph. Is that the right header size? Is this even a good font color? Brain. Shuts. Down.

Here’s a simulation. Don’t even watch it. Looks like a migraine waiting to happen.

The Happy Ever After

While this is going on, I may not be publishing the way I’d like but I am learning to mute the production-halting editor while writing drafts. (How I seemed to have forgotten this after NaNoWriMo is beyond me.) Now I keep a notepad nearby for to dos and notes but try to reach a finish line even if there are parts missing or the end is skeletal.

“Add broth, slay dragon’s wicked master, rinse dishes, end.”

The interference of editing as you write wrecks flow, train of thought, motivation, and more. Do it later.

Tips to keep rolling:

Write in one Piece - Brainstorm, take notes, and outline if you're into that sort of thing. Research before writing, when you're stuck, or any time OTHER than when words are coming out. Set up your space: notes, scrap paper, coffee/water/bourbon, background noise or lack thereof... Light a candle if it helps. Just get comfortable and in the zone. Pot hole or plot hole? Leave yourself a note, comment, or use brackets for things to revisit. This is also handy for unknowns like [MC's school] or [temp avgs AZ '93]. They stand out and are easily searchable. Let it rest. Take a walk. Move on to something else for a while.

You just have to get it down.

While writing through mistakes and without interruptions (of course our phones are off!) helps finish a draft, it also challenges the tendency toward perfectionism in writing.

SPOILER: poorly-timed scrutany doesn’t actually improve your work.

No matter what I’ve written, I’ll later find typos or edits to make. No brain injury required.

Writing is like sauerkraut–100x better fully fermented and half drained. Why worry about the brine while you’re still chopping cabbage?

***

More bright sides to this downtime: I’ve been working on new projects and spending more time with my imagination. The brain rest thing gets boring sometimes but, good grief, I’ve got ideas! Also enjoying the back-end dabbling and silly graphics.

Please bear with me while things are a mess. I’m tired of waiting for my brain to catch up to keep moving forward!

Tell me:

Are you a constant editor or are you comfortable with your pace and outcome?

What obstacles stand between you and publishing? Is perfectionism one of them?

What practices keep you flowing?

Wishing you all the best!

~Heather

24 thoughts on “Rough Drafting — Accepting Imperfection and Getting the Words out Without Giving Yourself a Headache

  1. Hi Heather! This all seems so overwhelming. I can hardly put together the content for a blog post, let alone know how to use graphics and other thingamabobs (what in the world is Canva?). It’s pretty great you’ve learned all this new stuff and haven’t let it scare you into a hole. Good luck with all your upcoming rough drafts!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you!

      Content is key. Health crap got in the way of me posting anything for a long time, and apparently still wants to. If you ever need ideas though, I know a chick with notebooks full…😉

      There’s so much of info out there on graphics (I make them with Canva), search engine optimization, and all the thingamabobs. Pinterest, YouTube, WordPress… you can learn just about anything online. Aside from the table of contents, which wouldn’t be bad if I knew my theme’s coding and could possibly recall the HTML I could once stumble through like a seasoned drunk, everything has been easier to learn than expected.

      It can be overwhelming. I just watch, listen, or read a little at a time. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This post is just so good, and the graphics are fantastic!!

    When it comes to blogging, I realized that I need to take things a bit slower cause I love posting my thoughts ASAP. With that though, the quality of the post, setup, and grammar were all partying in a cat’s litter box.

    Now, I outline my idea on one day, draft it on another, then edit it and post it on the third day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ayah. You’re too kind. 🥰

      That sounds like a good way to set posts. I may try designating phases for posts to work on in blocks like that, especially with several drafts going. Then if I get oriented on graphics or some other nonsense, I can check off those parts of the post. (Can you imagine the bujo page for this as well as I can? 😍)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That does sound like a migraine on the making.
    As you probably figured already, i’m the type who goes on drafting, doing minimal edits whenever i re-read a part. otherwise, my goal is to finish the entire draft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And you have 2 published books so it’s working!

      I’m “normally” okay with fixing minor edits as I go but when my head is goo, I make more mistakes and am less organized so there are even more edits (read: derailers, brain drainers).

      The forced practice of non-stop writing could be very helpful with speed once this settles again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, i do stop if i find my progress not to my satisfaction. And when i do give myself a pause, i either go binge reading, or i go back to the beginning and start editing until i find myself itching to write again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I understand that. If something looks awful or really isn’t working and can’t be skipped over, breaks are mandatory. Walks and showers fix plot holes and inspiration problems more than beating my head against the screen.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes sense. I like having a post finished and scheduled too, though I usually end up hitting “publish now” before the time comes.

      Some lovely day (soon?) I should have a few posts polished and ready to go so I’m working ahead and have leeway for down times or whatever comes up.

      Do you write and edit in segments? How many posts do you have started at once? You publish quite frequently. Share your secrets, dear! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I often have several on the go at any given time. I like to have 2-3 weeks of posts scheduled and ready to go. I’m also an organization nut, so I’ve got a spreadsheet to keep track of all things blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh dear… spreadsheets are the best, though I’ve recently grown very fond of my bullet journal.

        I love being organized. Miles from it though.

        I’ve already scheduled a holiday of sorts for once I have enough posts ready to publish for 3-4 weeks, assuming National Novel Writing Month is also covered or far enough off.

        Could I peak at your spreadsheet setup sometime or do you have any posts about it?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve got one sheet for ideas grouped into broad categories, another that’s organized by date with published and scheduled posts, image used, and any of my blog directory pages they’re listed on, and similar sheets for sites other than my blog where I write.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. First off, sorry to hear about your head scrambling, but glad you are on the mend.

    Second, this is excellent advice that I try to follow. I try to get the story down, but have a tendency to edit as I write. Or I write without stopping to edit until life gets in the way, and I have to stop. Then when I go back to pick up where I left off I see things that need fixing, and start editing instead of writing, which is why I have exponentially more beginnings of projects than completed ones.

    But I’m inspired to follow your suggestions.

    Good luck with your many endeavors!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Interruptions can be rough. Maybe read back no more than a paragraph or look to notes about where you were heading when you return. It’s so easy to get caught up and nearly restart a thing. 😂

      Good luck to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ok, I’m late to this party, I know, but now I have so many questions!! You had a brain injury? How do you consistently post and make sense?
    I downloaded Canva forever ago, but I don’t get it! I feel so stupid that I can’t figure the dang thing out. I managed to make one horrible graphic somehow, then never did it again. Help! I wish I had you over my shoulder!
    Yes, I’m a constant editor, so I am very slow.
    I hope you see these remarks and get back to me, and I hope you are running at full strength now, btw, you are one hilarious chick! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Well… I don’t consistently post and make sense. Haha. Actually, it’s been incredibly difficult to do either lately but I’m trying and getting back to “normal”, which is still limiting but it’s a work in progress like everything else.

      I’ve learned Canva most just by playing with it and looking at other people’s designs for inspiration. YouTube videos help too but if you’ve got specific questions, I may be able to help. Ayah, Candace, and Ashley are all great with it too so feel free to message or post to Teams and if you want help/feedback!

      We’ve also been talking about starting a members-only section on the site for learning things and sharing expertise together.

      If you haven’t been on Teams in a while, check it out.

      I posted about starting a new feature you might be interested in too, being the crafty lady you are!

      Liked by 1 person

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