The process of revision

Of use even for non-marketing types, particularly point #2. The link to the Parker poem in progress is really cool, too!

2. Be a reviser

First-draft excellence is what we call, in the writing business, an accident. As novelist William Styron once wrote, “I get a fine warm feeling when I’m doing pretty well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell.”

In the real world, one must write and revise, write again and revise again, to produce anything of quality. Note: This process applies to everyone who aspires to excellence. Even Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, depends on it. Watch as he types, erases, and retypes a poem about jazz great Charlie Parker.

You must always ask yourself, “Is my content as good as it can be?” As Dr. Seuss once told his biographer, “Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, ‘You can do better than this.'”



Filed under On writing

2 responses to “The process of revision

  1. Deepam Wadds

    Ain’t it the truth? Although there is something raw, vulnerable and precious about listening to the first flush of a piece of writing. The trick is to not edit too quickly, to stop the magical process of creation with criticism. The editing comes after the rush… hopefully much later, when the muse is lying spent on her divan, with the back of her hand draped across her brow.

  2. Sometimes I like editing more than writing!

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