Obstacle #5: Revisions

Revisions revisions, bane of my addiction… Maybe I should’ve kept all the sentences with which I wanted to start this post, so we can all see how many times we start somewhere only to end with something completely different.

We meet again, nice of you to read by! (See what I did there? … Of course you see, you’re still reading, silly me.)

Today’s topic: revisions, editing, re-writing… Whatever you want to call it, it’s that thing where you re-read your stuff and modify it.

So, you’ve finally beat up writer’s block, came up with some decent characters and you’re finally following the plot line of your heart/crazy mind. Good job! Now… I don’t know if there is a ‘correct’ way of revising/editing (let’s go with no), and how you do it depends entirely on you. Surprise!

Some people say they save a different draft for each read-through/revision, and while I can say “awesome” to them, I’d be pulling out my hair with that many files in my folders. In the (recently rare-ish) moments when I’m writing, I’ll just write until I hit a wall so I’ll stop for a bit, scroll up and read from the beginning, all in one sitting! (If you write by hand, you’ve got my condolences, or is it congratulations? …) And sometimes that destroys the wall I’d just hit earlier and I can go on writing. Stop and repeat.

I guess the downside of not saving different drafts for each read-through (which, I do a lot), is that if I change something, I can’t change it back. So in a way, I write with the “it can only get better!” mindset. (Mental note: Remind yourself more often… especially when inspiration is lacking.)

But like everything else in writing, I think how you do revisions depends on your style of writing and dealing with your writing. I like to write, read and edit, but some of you probably prefer writing nonstop for a while, letting it rest before jumping back in the next day for a read-through and revising session. However you do it is fine, as long as your writing improves along the way. 🙂

I already mentioned I’ll send stuff to my friends and ask for feedback, and that feedback makes me more aware of different issues. The best part? Every friend points something different out! (Unless I write something terrible and they all find the most terrible piece to work on first.)

But let’s not lie, we all have that little voice (or voices?) in the back of our heads nagging, bragging, screaming, snorting and generally being an annoying distraction from writing uninterrupted and freely. That voice makes me stop, stare, ponder and wonder and ponder again: how should I phrase this, what word works best but what if, if, if… So to that voice inside my head, I say: BE QUIET!

I need to learn to silence that endless self-criticism voice in many aspects, but especially when writing a first draft. There’ll be plenty of that down the road and not just from myself. So be damned the “this could sound better”s and “what if”s, I’ll revise, edit and tear through my writing as I please, when I please for as long as I please!

Fyi: I don’t know if you could tell, my revising of this post diminished towards the end… Oh well!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tylasmith
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:52:50

    I’ve come to the conclusion I shouldn’t re-write my blog posts over and over, then nothing would ever be posted. I would be silent forever and the world might suffer for it.

    I can sympathize with what you are saying. I’ve kind of given up on editing while writing my novel because then I worry it will never be done. So now I finish a chapter and go ‘well that is utter shit but I’ll fix it up when the rest of this is all done.’

    I also ran into the issue of editing, in regards to people saving different drafts, where I brought in a chapter that had major issues. I thought I fixed my issues, handed it back to the friend and he said ‘YOU REWROTE THE BEGINNING OF THE CHAPTER?’ Apparently even though the chapter was shit, there were some good parts, and I lost the good parts… Back to the writing board.

    Reply

    • Hélène Victoire
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 09:00:41

      I suppose compared to my actual writing, I don’t edit my posts as much as usual? But I agree with your sentiment, the world would totally suffer for our silence!

      Wow, that is awesome! You’re a few steps ahead of me (I’m still mainly brainstorming), but yes, eventually we’ll get to a decent draft.

      Ah– that happened… What I found is that, if something was better in the original draft, I can usually find those drafts in my sent folder, or sometimes people will still have the email (one advantage of being overseas?). I get the feeling you printed it out though, in which case– it’s easier in some respect to discard? Still, I’ll stick with the “it can only get better!” mentality. 🙂

      Best of luck to you, and thanks for commenting!

      Reply

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