I love to write. This may come as little of a shock to you. However, revision and editing are my favorite stage in the writing process. I’ve created a rough draft, something with many, many issues. What’s better than sitting down with an even bigger cup of java and getting to read it all again, and make it better?
The first draft or two (in my case, three) are for creative purposes. I’ve so far composed three separate drafts for the sequel to my book. And in each one, the plot has changed substantially. And though I wish I was, I’m not at the end yet… I’m not even half way! But a large part of me wants to edit what I already have. Though it’s important to do it eventually, in my opinion it is something that should be saved for the end. Here’s a good reason why.
When you are composing, whether it be your first (or third) draft, you need to stay on a straight course. It’s like a road map you’ve planned for a trip. You need to stay on that road and keep the speed manageable. In my scenario, I’ve sat myself inside a Ferrari and am on a set of nice paved roads somewhere out in the country. There’s not another car in sight out there and I can go the speed I want… in this case, close to 80. But if anything comes up that halts the writing process, whether it be writers block or something else in your life, that car is going to crash. Hard.
As you can imagine, it won't be pretty either.
The best thing you can do is try to take your time instead of rushing through it. That way, you are assured you’re including everything that you want to include. If you miss things and think, “I can just add it in at the revision stage,” you may want to re-think and do it now. Chances are, you’ll be concentrating on what you’ve already got that you’ll forget to add whatever it is you forgot. Especially if it’s something at the beginning of the book.
When all is said and done, then you start revision and editing. And just like the rough draft, you take your sweet, bloody time with it, too. This is the process where you need to get things right or at least mostly right. If you’ve got someone taking a look at it for editing purposes later, make sure you’ve done as much as you can before handing it off. It will make you feel better. That way when they find a million and a half things wrong with your draft, it won’t be on top of the million and a half things you missed out on when you were rushing through it. 🙂
On top of all that, I find it’s important to keep writing other things and read other things during this process. It’s a refresher for your brain. I have a knack for getting annoyed with reading the same things over and over and that goes for my stories during the editing process as well. I feel like I’ve read the same passage so many times that I know where everything is, every punctuation mark, every word, every phrase. Problem is, I really don’t. And I’m imagining I do with the excuse that I can avoid reading that entire section again.
So, when you feel like your going to start tearing your hair out, take a break, go do the dishes and when you come back and sit down, read something else. Pull out the local newspaper, slide that book off the shelf that you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t because you’ve been so busy writing… Odds are you’ll read something that will re-inspire you. That’s all it takes.
Good morning and happy revising,