I am working on my next devotional book, Watering Flowers in the Rain. I am approximately 30 pages in. Below is a paragraph I have revised about 5 times this week. After the paragraph, I explain why it sometimes takes me hours to write a few sentences.
Excerpt from Watering Flowers in the Rain:
It was the first time I had ever been frisked. My husband was next. Neither of us said anything. Then about fifty of us were jammed into a small area where guards, holding semi-automatic weapons, stood above us on a balcony. I would call the area a room, but it didn’t have a ceiling. At first, there were three walls, battleship gray. Then the fourth wall, a steel door, came thundering down, “SHUMP!” I really didn’t need that. I was already nervous.
Why does it sometimes take me days to write a paragraph?
1. This particular paragraph is non-fiction, so it took me awhile to retrieve the details. For me, recollection is the most difficult part of writing because it can be emotionally exhausting. At first I do more thinking than writing, and I also do more thanking, thanking God I have moved away from a place I now only have to revisit for the purpose of writing.
2. I read my paragraphs aloud several times. Each time, I listen for the sound. Writers are like musicians in that sense. They have to have a good ear. The rhythm and flow of the words have to be right. That goes for poetry and prose.
3. Lately I have been writing more non-fiction, so I have to make sure I am telling the truth about my thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of other people who are involved. This sometimes takes a little research. I have to make sure I am completely honest with my readers. I cannot bend the truth to make the paragraph work. I have to figure out an interesting way to convey the truth. The truth has to work alone.
4. I have to check my grammar. This is often very tedious for me. Sometimes I don’t want to word a sentence correctly because it messes up my flow. However, I have to remember that, unless it is dialogue, incorrect grammar is an eye sore to skilled readers.
5. I need a break from the paragraph. Sometimes the break is 24-hours. If I sit hours on end, revising the same paragraph, my eyes get weak and my mind scatters. If I take a long walk, dance, or even fold clothes, I focus better when I go back to the paragraph. Breaks build up my mental stamina.
6. I repeat the first five steps.
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