Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


February 13, 2014

VALLEY: Enter the Sandman, Don McLean and Maggie

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I usually sit down and write this column on the weekend prior to the day it appears in the newspaper. That gives me two to three days to outrun an informal deadline of Monday.

It makes life a lot easier for those on the receiving end if I can e-mail the article to editors as early as possible.

The process of writing isn’t as easy for me as it is for the normal scribe. More-gifted writers can sit down and pound out articles like they’re thumping their fingers to the beat of a favorite song. I admire them for that. But, unfortunately, that’s not the way it works for me. It takes me a little longer.

Obviously, when writing, the topic is priority number one. What’s the column going to be about? And how do I make it readable if it’s less than interesting? It’s amazing where inspiration sometimes comes from. People tend not to believe me when I tell them. I don’t know why. So I just don’t bother to bring it up anymore.

The real work for me comes after I’ve written the first draft. I’m never satisfied. I have to walk away from it. That allows me the time to see it in a different light; a chance, hopefully, to see it from the perspective of the reader.

That’s when I start to notice that I’ve gummed up the article with sticky-nicks and disjointed wordage. Meaning: I have to start “sanding” the rough spots out of the story. An easy read is a smooth read. That’s my goal. The inadvertently-written speed bumps have to be eliminated (as much as possible) to hit that target. (Bulls-eyes are pipe dreams.)

The fact of the matter is: I’m seldom comfortable with the final product. I always feel as though I should have sanded it at least one more time, to give it a little more polish.

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