I usually daydream about what I’m going to write well before I put it down on virtual paper. Usually I start to visualize phrases or ideas days before, most often at night when I’m about to fall asleep or during my morning commute; anytime, really.
I’ll often come back to a piece a little bit throughout the day, but my best time of day to write is in the morning when I feel the most fresh and ideas flow more easily. By the end of the day I’m usually so drained from reading, editing, and social media-ing that I can’t come up with an original thought to save my life. It’s why I love writing for publications where there aren’t quick turnarounds and I can take my time with a story. I’ll usually look at a draft 2–3 times a day at 30-minutes increments for about a week, at a minimum.
Once my final thoughts are down on paper, I’ll dedicate some real time to sit down and review the piece as a whole. Oftentimes I’ve created bits and pieces of a story, and need to pull it all together so it works cohesively. Sometimes I read it out loud, sometimes I send it to my mom or fiancé to give it a brief once-over, and sometimes I’m just so sick of the darn thing I shoot it off to my editor.
If I have the time, I often don’t touch it for a few days so that when I come back to the piece, I’m seeing it with fresh eyes. Only then do I feel comfortable sending something along.
Meaghan Clark is a hyper-local journalist based in San Francisco, whose work has appeared in The Bold Italic, 7x7, Hoodline, UpOut, xoJane, Refinery29, and others. You can follow her thoughts on Twitter or find more of her work at her online portfolio.