Revision Rehash

Revision is not my favorite thing, although I do confess a real pleasure in rereading the ‘good bits’ in my writing.  I love the way the words just seem to convey a mood or–I’ll say it!–show off some scintillating phrase I’ve found.  Sometimes it’s even something I’ve made up, such as describing July in Ontario when the corn is growing so fast it’s  fairly flying out of the fields.  Or my feelings on a recent Niagara wine tour with friends when I announced I was ready for something else to drink and had had enough of that mouth-sucking wine.

But I digress.

There are those who say writers should just get the words down as quickly as possible and put off rewrites till later.   Write, write, write.  But the rest of us love to hone that daily page or two and indulge in our love of perfection.  Which method is right?

Decide what kind of person you are and what kind of writer you are.  Do you exist for plot and plot alone?  Are you so anxious to have your character open that door that you just can’t wait to reread your last line and have to push on?  You can revise later?  Or is that field of clover with the couple lying in it a thing of splendid beauty which you just have to describe?  Is your great verb quest so compelling you’ll take an hour to think and thin out your sentence?

Once you recognize what your needs are, be the writer you want to be.  There is no right answer.  We’re all different because our brains seem to be wired individually.  Certainly my years as a teacher taught me that children learn in a zillion different ways.  The miracle is that we can put thirty kids in a classroom, teach them all virtually the same way, and that they learn!  So revel in your own learning style.  Make writing a pleasure for you or you’ll probably not want to come back to it over and over again.

There are writers who still type on old-fashioned typewriters, those who even use pen and paper, while the vast majority of us have embraced the computer as our tool of choice.  It doesn’t matter.  Didn’t J.K. Rowlings write her first manuscript in a coffee house with pen and paper?  Seems to have worked for her.  As long as our method of choice is producing good writing we are succeeding.  And if that written word is published, so much the better.


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