#Secondthoughts – What did you send?

Side profile of a journalist typing on a typewriter

I’m not quite sure when this will get posted, but I thought it might be interesting to do a quick follow up on the piece I wrote for November’s writing prompt, and on prompts in general.

I really did write the piece in a flash – it took about 40 minutes when I actually sat down and put fingers to keyboard.  I’d spent a couple of days thinking about the prompt, which had given me a couple of ideas and themes that I wanted to include, but I was really pleased about how the ideas turned into words on the screen.  The punchline is perhaps a bit obvious, especially for a writer, but I have to admit it was the starting point for this piece.

I wrote the piece in three stages.  The first few sentences, then the last paragraph and then the middle.  I’d intended to include something about “ashen-faced, angst powered world leaders rushing from one committee to another” in that middle section, but the ending, which I do quite like (obviously!) took a lot more words than I was expecting.  I still think there’s some mileage in that section, so maybe I’ll come back at some stage and write an extended version sometime…

One of the things that I really like about flash writing is how quick the process is… given the opportunity, I will overthink things and go back and polish and tweak for as long as I can get away with it – and then as like as not hide the piece away because it isn’t quite what I thought it would be.  Flash gives me permission to post a rough cut, with minimal (if any editing) because there is a hard deadline.

And finally, writing prompts are a bit like book club reads.  Wait, what?  Yep, you read that correctly.  Book clubs are great because you get steered towards things that you’d be unlikely to choose for yourself.  So whilst you bring your experience (and, dare one say it?, prejudices) to your reading and in this case writing, you have to think about things that you’ve not thought about before.  Some things chime, some things you feel worthy for engaging with and some you ignore…at least for the time-being.  But much like the abyss, the time-vortex and pretty much anything else you can stare into, be careful…the writing prompt will stare back…


An absolutely true post script, written six months after the fact.  I stand by everything above – I’ve just gone and re-read the story, and actually I think it does still work, and I still like it.  I am not blind to it’s faults – I’ve spotted several points that, if I’d taken the time to re-read it before I posted it, I would have re-worded.  But as I said here, this was very much a rough cut, written in a session.  I need to do more of this sort of writing…


© David Jesson, 2017


3 thoughts on “#Secondthoughts – What did you send?”

  1. Crikey, you wrote that piece in 40 minutes AND you’re nitpicking? I remember the piece I wrote too quickly – it changed POV and grammatical tense in 500ish words – entirely without intent. I’ve been promising myself that it’ll sink, sink, sink without trace soon enough. What I’ve learned in the past few months is that it’s not the time spent but the attention paid, and that piece was written (and edited) without attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The attention paid comment was about my piece, not yours.
      The way I’ve phrased it doesn’t make that clear.
      [just shoot me now]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 It’s ok – I knew what you meant. In terms of word count, this really was a PB. Some days it’s like you have to go and make your own granite to chip the words out of… There have been quite a few posts on editing and writing in my timeline over the last few days and I think the key thing is that editing doesn’t have to be about tearing stuff all the way down and building it back up again. Also, if you don’t like your own writing, why should anyone else? And final Chinese cookie: quick does not mean it has to be shoddy.


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