I went to a Zombies vs. Humans nerf battle back in October. I’m not proud of it…well, actually it was pretty darn amazing. It was my first one in truth and probably not my last. While alone in the woods contemplating my next move as one of the last surviving humans, I started to think about the situation I was in as a metaphor for writing. I made a strange connection to the similarities of writing and surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.
When writing a paper, you might have an idea in your head that you feel is amazing but once you begin, a slow creeping infestation that you may not have noticed at first begins to fester and spread. Eventually your flow becomes derailed and you zombify your words like a staggering, undead walker. What seemed at first precise and cogent quickly becomes infected and slows to an unintelligible, convoluted pile of sentence entrails. You might have been able to identify what the original idea was about but probably not.
So, how do you survive?
- Run for it (literally)- Sometimes you have to just get out of there. Put the laptop down and go outside to clear your head from the zombie virus. Get away from the festering brain meltdown as quick as you can and live to write another day. Many writers don’t do enough stepping away from their work and as a result, they don’t notice their transformation into the undead of writing.
- Make a defense plan (edit/revise): You need to slow down and think of what you are trying to do. What are you trying to say? Have you put in all the pieces of information that you wanted to? Is your research sourced properly? Making a checklist of important things to accomplish will help you stay on task and not fall victim to the walking dead.
- Get supplies (toolbox)- Good writers make sure they are well supplied with tools that will help them. Spellcheck.
- Don’t be afraid to use ‘em (actually follow through and edit!)- Having weapons is only good to get you past that zombie hoard if you are ready and willing to use them. Use spellcheck. Don’t ignore that squiggly red line under that word.
- Stand and fight (Face the music)- At some point you need to turn at those zombies and let ‘em have it. Letting other people read your work will make you a better writer.
Following these simple steps will keep your writing one step ahead of being dead and humanity might just be saved!