“Create a new traffic sign.” That’s the instruction for this day of making something.
I conceived a yield-like sign to remind writers to slow down and take time for a critical part of their process:
This advice is as much for me as anyone else.
A first draft can be fast and reckless. When ideas finally come together in my mind, I race to find the words before they escape. I speed, ignoring the laws of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
My best ideas move in the fast lane. But my greatest writing does not.
When the first draft is done, I have to have the good sense to exit the speedway and make a complete stop. Ideally, I’ll get out of the vehicle, and maybe even slide into a more sensible sedan before driving the next leg of the trip.
And that next leg is a slow one. I work though the twists and turns of my sentences with great caution, checking each detail before moving on. For the most treacherous parts, I even double back, traveling the same passage several times until I get it just right.
Maybe we should extend this analogy. What other signs could we use to guide our writing efforts?