Quit Editing · 21 March 2015

A friend of mine (the one who wants to be known as the green M (of M & M) in these Musings and who is known as R to the rest of the known universe) said that I ought to quit editing. Or at least that is what I think he said.

Sometimes I am not sure what Mike The Big Green M says. Sometimes it is because he does not know exactly what he is saying. But I do listen. After all, he is my friend. And one of my faithful readers. (Yes, one of the real as opposed to imaginary ones.)

While Mike did say that I ought to quit editing, he was really talking about the substance of what I write. Or maybe it could be the style of my writing. Regardless, what he said was that he liked one of my recent blog posts because he felt it came from the heart. It was not over-edited or overdone. So while he did say that I need to quit editing, he meant something more than just going with what I write the first try.

Another reason I listen to Mike (besides the fact that he is one of the faithful) is because he usually has backup. In writing terms, he backs up his arguments with concrete evidence. His evidence in this case was not just that it seemed more heartfelt, but that his wife thought so too. Who could argue with that? After all, we know who is right most of the time in most marriages. (Did I say that out loud?)

On the other side of the argument, there are myriad reasons for not listening to The Big Green M.

Mike was the one who told me to do a free write. He was also the one who said I ought to write this blog post or that blog post. He is constantly telling me that I need to do something different.

The problem is he is usually right. I hate when that happens.

When Mike has given me suggestions, I have found them to be helpful. In fact, he has told me before that I ought to make sure my writings are heartfelt and true rather than just try to be clever or witty. (I think he was telling me nicely that I am not funny. I already know this to be true, but I think he likes to reinforce it.)

Regardless of his history of past good suggestions, there is one suggestion that I have taken to heart, but could not really do. Mike has said that I should give up my blog.

Do not worry faithful readers (I know there are more than two of you out there despite what my friends, M & M, say). I am not going to give up my blog. It has taken up a life of its own. It is more than a hobby. It is more than a bad habit too. I do not know that I could live without saying stupid stuff online.

Mike’s point was sincere and more importantly, it was probably right. But he was not really suggesting that I stop blogging. In reality, he posed a question that I have pondered before. He asked what would happen to my writing if I concentrated on just one thing. If I decided that writing juvenile fiction (audience, not content) was where I put all my effort. If I decided to blog every day instead of every week. If I decided that all my writing energy was focused on just one thing. What might happen if I had laser beam focus?

I have wondered this myself. I have wondered what the outcome would be if I took all my waking hours and just wrote.

In my wildest dreams, I see myself being a successful author. I see all my books being printed by major publishing houses and becoming movies. But in my other wildest dreams, I see myself just being a hack with a website. All my books and blogs just sitting there with no readers. And having no job.

Of course, the second wild dream is my reality. Except that I still have a job. Mind you, a job that I love. (Which is no mean feat.)

As I ramble on, I can only think that Mike is probably right. On many fronts. I need to make sure I do not edit the life out of my writing. I need to focus and concentrate on just one project through to its completion. But The Big Green M is also mistaken. I cannot just cut out my blogging to write my juvenile fiction. I cannot just cut out my fiction to write my blog. And I cannot stop editing. I am who I am. A writer (albeit with just a few readers) who just needs to write whatever it is that comes into his brain. I am just a writer with too many ideas. Too many stories. And like all of us, too little time.

So I guess I will continue to work on my writing. I will practice and continue to put stuff out on the web. I will continue to work in obscurity while trying to promote myself and perfect my craft and maybe sell a few books along the way. I will work on making all my writing come from my heart. But I will not quit editing. Still, thanks for the suggestion, Mike.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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