Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Writing Mostly Rewriting?

Writers find that after their initial burst of raw writing, much of the final product is the result of revision. Most writers spend as much time revising as they do writing. This goes for writers who write books and articles and novels.

However, having said that, most writers spend some time at least in the creation phase when they are trying to get as many words on the page as possible. That is part of the fun of writing and it is the inspiration stage of writing.

For myself, this is the best stage of writing. I just love to be able to sit at my notebook computer and just type whatever comes into my mind. There is nothing more liberating than that for a writer. However, this is not the be all and the end all is it? After the writer has typed the words on the page, then the arduous task of revision starts in earnest.

Some writers not only accept the importance of revision but accept it with gusto. I will be honest I accept and know importance of revising in my own work, but I don't like to revise. I just know that it is a necessity. I actually find revising boring, and did for a long time until I had a real revelation a while ago.

Revision is like tidying a messy drawer or cleaning a cluttered room. What you are really doing is getting rid of what you don't need in your manuscript as you would get rid of things you don't need in a room such as pop cans, water bottles, extra books that you will not be using right away, and extraneous files. When I started seeing revision like a cleansing process, I started viewing revision with the same kind of necessity as keeping my study decluttered. And that is when I excelled at the process of revising.

So, writer, declutter your manuscripts by taking the time to revise them. Get rid of all of the extraneous material such as redundant words, passive phrases, typos, grammatical errors, repetitions, and so on. Your manuscript will feel much lighter and cleaner.


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