Fill the Gaps

Now we prioritize the missing bits, and create them. This is the piece most of us think of as “writing a book.”

Priority means “first in some meaningful way.” It might be chronological, but usually isn’t, not directly. It might be the part that comes easiest. Might be what naturally comes before the other.

In the end, what you’ll write is what you should write. Forcing yourself to dig into the toughest section is madness—doomed to failure.

Start with the bit that’s falling-off-a-log easy. Knock something out in an afternoon; that one little bit that connects A to C.

There. Doesn’t that feel good? And now, kill off the next easy bit.

Before long, you’ll have nothing left but that big hairy knot you’ve been dreading. Except, now, you’ve got all the success under your belt and it’s not so scary. Besides, it’s the last thing. You’ll dig in and love it.

All that other stuff you’d created, the “stuff” between which these gaps fell? Now’s the time to get it transcribed, or add an intro/outro or connecting bit between this and the new stuff. Remember, the goal at this point is to write. Not edit. Not format. (Great googlymooglies; don’t let me catch you using bold or italics while you write!) Editing while you write is like baking all the ingredients, then turning them into a cake.

Before we get to the mechanical parts, there’s one more phase to the writing: the re-writing.

One reason we all edit as we write is that we’re embarrassed that our editor is going to see that we don’t know “their” from “there” from “they’re” from “Thayer.” Don’t worry; in this scenario, you get to do the first re-write, during which you finally get to edit. A little.

Read it through once. The whole thing. Just get an overview of how it feels.

Now, go back and read it as a writer. Rewrite the paragraph that made sense in your blog, but now needs the idea completely rephrased. Change the fragments to sentences, where they really should be. (Nothing wrong with fragments.) Go through it all and fix what you feel isn’t your voice, speaking your thoughts clearly.

And now, if you’d like, do it again.

Whether you re-re-write or not, now we’re on to the mechanical stuff.

Watch the next video: Mechanical Stuff

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