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The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment

Or, Why I Can’t Write Anything In One Day

  1. This is brilliant. I am on fire. A natural talent!
  2. There is so much great stuff in here. I can feel it!
  3. I can’t wait for someone to read it!
  4. This isn’t my own genius. It’s coming through me, but it is not me.
  5. This is terrible.
  6. This is probably the worst thing I’ve ever written.
  7. This doesn’t even make sense.
  8. This is a professional embarrassment.
  9. I’ll never write again.
  10. I never could.
  11. How can I let anyone read this?
  12. Maybe it’s not so bad, if I delete 80 percent.
  13. Okay, that part is not bad.
  14. It’s pretty good.
  15. No, it’s still not good. It’s not good at all. It’s bad.
  16. I’m afraid to look.
  17. I am finished, professionally speaking.
  18. I can’t possibly show this to anyone.
  19. The shame!
  20. I have to turn this in. There’s a deadline.
  21. It’s good enough. For now.
  22. I can fix it later.
  23. Maybe no one will notice how irritating I am.
  24. This part is actually kind of good.
  25. Funny. How did I think of that?
  26. This is good. I’ll probably never write this way again.
  27. I will never write this way again. I might as well accept that. It was a different time.
  28. No, this is terrible.
  29. This is a mediocre piece of writing, at best.
  30. Definitely not my best work.
  31. This is terrible.
  32. I never want to read this again.
  33. I should probably just start over.
  34. I don’t know—what do you think?


24 Responses to The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment

  1. Sarah Bray says:

    Hahaha…I think the same could be said of the design process. :)
    .-= Sarah Bray´s last blog ..I am a love machine =-.

  2. Kerry Rowett says:

    This is hilarious! And such an accurate picture of the types things that sometimes go through my mind when I write.

    I particularly love the jump straight from “this is genius” to “this is terrible”.

    Yep, genius! :)
    .-= Kerry Rowett´s last blog ..Change doesn’t have to be hard =-.

  3. Hiro Boga says:

    Heee! :-)
    .-= Hiro Boga´s last blog ..Elegy =-.

  4. Amna Ahmad says:

    Ha. And ouch. Yes. This is me almost every time I ever write anything, but most especially every time I put up a blog post.
    .-= Amna Ahmad´s last blog ..(Climbing out of) self-inflicted expert backlash =-.

  5. Tara says:

    The REAL problem comes when the person you showed it to says “It’s great! It’s fabulous!” and you have to walk them through the “no, it’s terrible” before they can convince you!
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Fun. Everyday. =-.

  6. Naomi Niles says:

    Ha ha, I’m with Sarah! Sounds like the daily life of a designer too, OMG.

    For writing, I never get to the #1 stage, more like #5. Hmm, that could be a problem.
    .-= Naomi Niles´s last blog ..Friday Guest Posts Roundup =-.

  7. Sonia says:

    Ah ha ha! Indeed yes.
    .-= Sonia´s last blog ..The Spooky Secret to Designing Your Perfect Business =-.

  8. Mary says:

    Too funny. Because it is sooooo accurate. We’re way to hard on ourselves sometimes.

  9. oh God, I love finding others from my “Tribe of Perfectionism”. We are a secret and smarty-pants filled little cult with members everywhere living with the torture of the highs and lows and everything between.

    At least perfectionism also breeds funny.

    Love and Secret Tribe Handshakes,
    Breaking The spell of Overeating:Living In Your Senses

  10. Lauren says:

    Oh, I loved this! What would we do without our beloved #34’s?
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Creating Room For Internal Mess =-.

  11. Sarah, Kerry, Hiro, Amna, Tara, Naomi, Sonia, Lisa, Mary, and Lauren:

    It’s so good to know I’ve got the company of people I totally admire, people I’d never think numbers 5-12, 15-23, or 28-31 about.

    Next time I’m stuck at #4, I’ll think of all of you slaving away at your desks. I hope you don’t mind, but that image actually cheers me up a bit. That’s probably a sign there’s a 35th stage of enlightenment I haven’t reached yet.

  12. chris zydel says:

    Oh my goodness Kelly!

    You have obviously been eavesdropping in on my brain. I am DEFINITELY printing this one out and putting it up on the wall next to where I write.

    I just hope I find it as funny when I’m actually in the throes of the writing process. Especially the one about “this doesn’t make any sense at all.” That would be a MAJOR breakthrough.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    Aaaaaagw-ck on!!!
    .-= chris zydel´s last blog ..How Deep Goes Your Creative Well? =-.

  13. Chris! I think for me, it was a relief just naming the steps, these self-conscious, overly-dramatic steps, and recognizing they’re a part of a process that happens every time I write. So even as I think, “this doesn’t even make sense,” I can now also think, “Oh, right, stage 7. Somewhere in the world, someone else is probably in stage 7 too right now.”
    .-= Kelly Parkinson´s last blog ..The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment =-.

  14. lucy says:

    ahaha, this is so familiar, yet also so reassuring.
    It’s going up on my wall to remind me I’m not alone….thank you!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I am still laughing.

    I love how we can go right from “This is genius!” to “This is terrible!”.

  16. Josiane says:

    I love the usefulness of this list as you outlined it in your answer to Chris’ comment. Brilliant!

  17. I know I’m just echoing everyone else’s comments, but this is just so spot on that I had poke my head in and say “This is so me!”
    .-= Natalia M. Sylvester´s last blog ..The Invisibility of Great Copywriting =-.

  18. Marie says:

    OMG, quit looking in my window watching me write songs! I’m pretty sure I saw you with one of those crazy iPhones recording my every word.

    Hey, maybe I’ll write a song about this. It’ll be brilliant–I’m on fire! Oh no, worst idea ever. Professional embarrassment. Mediocre at best. What do you think?

  19. Amber says:

    I am laughing here. And commiserating.

    This post? Genius! And I’m sure you WILL write this well again.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..They all call it Canada =-.

  20. Sandra says:

    Hey, you! Get outta my head!
    .-= Sandra´s last blog ..Two crazy ways to wake up =-.

  21. […] know good content when it grabs you by the nose and just reeks of truth. The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment did just that, causing all members of the BCI writers team to sound off on the last five stages […]

  22. […] know good content when it grabs you by the nose and just reeks of truth. The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment did just that, causing all members of the BCI writers team to sound off on the last five stages […]

  23. […] know good content when it grabs you by the nose and just reeks of truth. The 34 Stages of Editorial Enlightenment did just that, causing all members of the BCI writers team to sound off on the last five stages […]

  24. Romilly says:

    I think it’s the stages of anything creative — web design, painting, writing, needlework design… Heh. So true.

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