The writing process is long and tedious. I used to think that writing was an individual sport and that the only goal was to write a perfect draft the first time. Through this internship, I have learned that it is very certainly a team effort and it takes way more than a single draft to score a goal.
When writing essays for classes, ideas seem sacred and we seldom want to share them with others until the draft is finalized. When writing for publication, however, the stakes are higher. Even though my name will be stamped on the published writing, many other people will engage with my work. For any given piece I have written this semester, at least one person has been involved in the brain dump portion where I first decide what I’ll write, at least two people have been involved in editing, one person finalizes edits and another sends it to the web designer who then posts the article. This happens every week for each post on my Science & Art column.
The extensive nature of writing was hard to get used to, but I have come to understand the beauty in the process. Each draft, no matter how small, takes on a new form as someone new reads it. With the editors’ ideas and corrections, I am able to decide how I want each piece to be read. The process in creating a beautiful piece of writing is similar to the process of metamorphosis. Draft one is an idea, a caterpillar slowly working its way through the world. It goes away for a while and I forget about it while other’s do their editing magic in the cocoon. Finally, I am able to come back to the piece and watch it break out of its shell and become a butterfly where the web designer sends it off into publishing.
I’m learning a lot about the process of writing throughout this internship and I am starting to appreciate all the time it takes.