I’ve finally reached the point where I am comfortable and even enjoy the rewrite process, and I think I owe this to a number of factors.
First, I’ve changed the way I write. The laptop is for transcribing and putting the final touches on an otherwise finished piece that was handwritten or typewritten. My thought process doesn’t work well with the screen, and it’s harder to engage with he work. When I write with a pen or typewriter, and then go back to edit, my mistakes are still there, even once they’ve been crossed out and that is important. I don’t want to push my mistakes out of existence, but I want to use them as the jumping off point for new successes.
Next, I’m being more honest with myself and taking writing more seriously. I know where I’m at and have no delusions of grandeur, and that takes a lot of pressure off. I can engage with my work and look at how to improve it without dwelling on mistakes.
Finally, it creates more of a process. I read a book last year called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and one of my favorite portions describes the benefit of working with your hands. In my application, instead of staring at a screen and lightly tapping keys, I’m typing at a typewriter that has its own rhythm, I’m returning the carriage at the end of each line, spooling a new sheet of paper, sitting down with a stack of papers, taking a read through, then taking a pen to them, writing notes, and more. It just feels more involved and when it feels like a real process I engage more truly.
What about you? How do you feel about revising? What is your creative process?