So, I can’t repost blogs from other bloggers on WordPress. No big deal. It’s not fair taking credit for someone else’s work. Now that I have “ranted,” let’s move on.
I read a post from Ryan Lanz, a WordPress blogger, about a subject many writers are uncomfortable talking about: revisions. Revisions, from what I hear, are the bane of every writer’s existence. No one wants to think about re-working or editing work that they poured their heart and soul into. I think I’m in the same camp. I don’t like having to write and write again sentences and paragraphs that I know work for me. I think that’s why I don’t type my work; because my perfectionist thinking says that when you type your work, it should be the be all and end all. It should reflect your best efforts.
The thing about revisions, as Ryan says, is that they are necessary. Drafts are just that: drafts. To paraphrase a fellow writer on Twitter: “The first draft is a lump of clay; it’s there so that you can mold and refine it to what you want it to be.”
I never thought of drafts that way, and it makes a lot of sense. The first draft is often called the rough draft. You have words on paper, but most of the time, it’s a big mess. Nothing about it is smooth and coherent. And I suspect that in the back of writers’ minds, they know it’s not their best. They don’t need CPs and beta readers to state the obvious, or not so obvious.
The point about revisions is that we shouldn’t view them as chores or necessary evils. Yes, they are necessary and no writer likes them. But they are opportunities to let out our inner artists. Again, this was something that never occurred to me. I think if I viewed drafts and revisions as such in my college years, I might not be so hesitant about writing that novel I promised. I write short stories, but even those need refinement. And I’ve never met a writer who has written a first draft and gone on to be successful. It just doesn’t happen. So, I—and many other writers, too—need to view revisions as an opportunity to make a good thing, great.