The world is full of stories waiting to be told.

Story ideas for me may be nuggets tucked away in newspapers.
Story ideas for me may be nuggets of information tucked away in newspapers.

MY WRITING routine:

Get an idea in what passes for my brain.

They can come from all places, all directions.

You know them.

Newspapers.

Magazines.

Signs on the wall.

Something you overhear.

Obits.

Wills.

Will?

And the older the better.

Not long ago, someone sent a will from a couple of centuries ago.

Fascinating.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

All sorts if possibilities for a writer.

One man left his cow to his three daughters.

One husband left his wife a featherbed mattress. That’s all.

One left his wife his prized bull. That’s it.

Such information in the wills has all sorts of possibilities for writers.

Mull.

Let the imagination run wild.

Take a break.

Punch the words in what passes for my brain into the computer while the words are fresh on my alleged mind.

Even if I am not sure of the spelling and exact meaning of some words.

Just get it into the computer as I think it, know it.

Now. Before some of the thoughts escape, maybe never to return.

Take a break. Take a walk. Watch a ball game. Work in the garden.

Mull.

Start re-write one.

Break.

Re-write two.

Break.

Re-write three.

Break.

Re- wri. . .

Break.

Fact-check.

Break.

Spelling check.

Break.

Fact-check.

Spelling check.

Only when I am satisfied with it, send it along to a few family members, friends, acquaintances – which I refer to as my personal editorial board — for review.

Break.

Send it along to a professional copy editor whose expert work I have known, trusted and appreciated for more than a quarter century.

Copy editors can – and do – save you from embarrassing yourself in print. And electronically.

When it is returned to me, re-read.

Break.

Re-read.

Send it along for publication.

After publication, review, read any comments, see if I might have done more to improve it.

Go on to next writing project.

Works for me.

No bull.

Roger Summers is a journalist, essayist and author of Heart Songs from a Washboard Road.

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