Now that I've finished my year of editing--and had some time to relax--I've come to realize that editing has taught me a lot about the writing (and living!) process. Sometimes it felt like my editing project would never end, mostly because I don't think it is a process that can truly end. You just have to decide that you're done. At least for now. It also gave me a chance to review all the wonderful experiences, insights, and recipes I've collected here over the past few years. This adventure has left me with a new perspective on writing. Although there are hundreds of things I've learned from a year of editing, I've narrowed it down to the top five. Each one reflects a morsel of wisdom I hope to take with me as I dive into new projects (and blogs!).
1. If you want to be a writer, write. It's as simple as that. When I started this blog, I'd already been writing every day since I was a teenager and knew I wanted to become a writer. It didn't matter what I wrote or how much, just that I kept at it. That's also how I got this blog started. Rain or shine, whether I felt like it or not, I showed up to my writing desk every day and honed my craft. I can see moments in past blogs where my voice began to blossom because I'd gained confidence and experience through regular practice.
2. Perfection is overrated. Seriously. This is a big one. I've seen so many writers get stumped from the get-go because they want everything to be perfect. I've certainly been guilty of this. And yet when I started blogging, I promised myself to stress less about perfection and focus my energy on learning my craft. What a difference that made! I simply allowed myself to experiment and learn from trial and error. There was also something liberating about having this experimentation visible to my readers--once my writing was out there, I learned not to fret about mistake making. It was all part of the process. Bottom line: writing is messy and you have to be willing to take risks if you want to develop your voice and style. Which leads me to number three...
3. You can't fix a blank page. Write something. Anything. You can always go back and edit it later. But if you hem and haw over each potential word or phrase, you will never get anything done. Some of my best work came from scribbling down bursts of insights without a filter, before overthinking set in.
4. Your work will never feel complete...just done for now. I fussed over my edits, probably more than I should have, and finally came to the realization that my work will probably never feel quite finished. That said, if I want to take on new projects, I have to let the old ones rest.
5. Writing is a form of conjuring. Rereading old posts, I came to see how each one reflected the happy, healthy life I wanted to create for myself. In fact, I started the blog as a way to find joy and balance at a time when I felt like I was still learning what those things meant. Cut to me three years later, living an abundant, well-rounded life and indulging in the pleasures each day has to offer. Each word I wrote became a seed that blossomed into the joy I now experience. That is conjuring at its most basic--and magical!
All in all, I learned that life and writing are about creating beauty and meaning. And while I might still find a typo or two lurking in the shadows of my posts, as Susanna J. Sturgis writes, "Typos are Coyote padding through language, grinning."
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational collection of musings touching on life’s simple pleasures, everyday enchantments, and delectable recipes that will guarantee to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is the everyday, subscribe here.