Sometimes I wonder what methods other writers use when working on an article. When I work, I like to write freely. I like to blurt everything out until I have comprehensively covered all the thoughts I want to express. My initial draft is usually written without any regard to word-count and once in the zone, I tend to go on and on. This means that more often than not, that first draft is waaay passed my word allowance and it is during the editing stage, or polishing as it is known, that I trim it back and tidy it up. Usually it's not too difficult and once polished, that babbled 200 word paragraph has morphed into one or two far more concise and articulate sentences. And sometimes I find I have digressed onto something else entirely and whole chunks get slashed. That's when whole paragraphs get bracketed and a fat red line runs through them. When I'm way over my word-count it's those fat red lines that bring me back on track.
It was nearly twelve months ago when I was writing and polishing this article for the latest issue of Nurture Magazine and by the time I had finished blurting everything out, that first draft had blown beyond my word-count by nearly 1,000 words!!! It needed a fair amount of tidying up and I had to get ruthless with those big fat red lines. I did it, I polished away and by the ninth or so draft I had something within my word-count (just!) and worthy of sending through to Kristy, Nurture's Editor-in-Chief.
So why did that initial draft blow out so much? Well, I was writing about a pretty huge topic and one that is very near and dear to me. This article, The Gift Of Grief, discusses the healing strategies I have explored for both myself and the kids. My hope is that our experience and the ideas I share may aid other parents and/or caregivers when helping children heal after loss and tragedy. Now can you see why I struggled to keep to word-count? I mean really, I could easily write a books worth but for now, I've pull out the key elements and squished them into two and half thousand words. The ideas I share can be adapted depending on the magnitude and depth of loss, and many of them have involved a holistic, unconventional approach. Nurture is 'Australia's Natural Parenting Magazine', and I hope my suggestions offer readers a fresh and uplifting perspective toward a difficult and often uncomfortable topic.
It feels like so long ago now that I wrote this piece that when my copy arrived earlier this week, I felt a little nervous about re-reading it. I'd love to hear what you think so do try and grab it for yourself - it's the Summer Issue, #18, and is choc-full of quality content. Nurture is available from most newsagents Australia wide but you can also order a copy directly through their website.
Happy weekending, friends - our Summer school holidays are drawing to a close all too soon and Monday sees us fumbling back into the morning routine once more.
Wish me luck ;) xo