I have one book finished, young adult science fiction, that is in a never-ending round of rewrites. Another book is in my head, in 10 chapters, in five notebooks and in my dreams. That's not to mention the essays, poems and even games that are chomping at my white matter at any minute.
If you delve into any writer's portfolio, whether fiction or nonfiction, those accomplishments seldom jive with the person you are talking to about that writing. This post will tackle the "Should Haves" we all encounter based on education, history and just plain fear.
To start, let's define the writing that this blog specifically addresses. Today, I looked up how to replace a kitchen faucet and found two websites with different writing styles in terms of their depth and breadth. As a visual and hands-on learner with a good grasp of the sequential/auditory avenues, one description was the better written, to me. Those instructions provided how to get around every road block that a homeowner could experience, which allows me to get all the materials needed for the job and walks me through the procedure. This writing could be considered technical/editorial.
If you write articles, essays, opinion columns and other editorial features, then you have dealt with deadlines, editorial preference and defining your audience. If you are a medical writer, technical writer, journalist, editor or student (of any age), engineer, scientist, health care worker, truck driver, etc., no matter how well versed in writing day to day, month by month and year by year, when it comes to fiction, so many people embrace the "could haves, would haves and should haves" that prevent us from expressing who and what we are in prose.
It's personal, for all of us. So, let's start with the first post below and deal with the "should haves" in our way.
The "should haves" almost always shriek: "I should have done that. I should have known better. I should have done better. I should have tried harder."
They are not the sound of reason where writing fiction or nonfiction is concerned. They are the stakes we drive through our motivation believing that we are being responsible. It is the first refrain that parents and teachers press, even on themselves, when it comes to writing.
So, give up the "should haves" and replace them with something along the lines of, "I do my best in the unique way I do everything."
But never miss a deadline -- just be more realistic when you make one in the first place.