Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Revising: The Bane of My Existence

I don't know about you, but revising just drives me nuts. When I initially write something down, I tend to fall in love with aspects of it and am afraid of losing those pieces. I'm sure most writers feel the same way.
In my days of revising these past few years, I have tried to work with the first thing I wrote, tweaking it, twisting it, trying to get it into the shape I have in my mind's eye, only to throw my hands up in frustration and say forget it. (Only I use stronger language when I'm alone.) *Laughs*

At any rate, I remember when I first started writing, all the scraps of papers around me, crumpled and then smoothed out again as I search for a fragment I wanted to keep. As I got older and started writing on the computer more and more and using pencil and paper less frequently, I got into a new habit. Using the same file over and over, highlighting what I wanted to change and then saving the document repeatedly so as not to lose what I changed.

Well....that's where the frustration has come into play yet again. I can't tweak the same thing over and over, strengthening one area and making another completely weak. I'm currently swapping chapters with a fellow writer and "Beta Reading" their work while they read mine. Half the time I toss out a chapter that I think revised well only to have glaring mistakes pointed out over and over. Makes me ashamed sometimes.

Lately, I must admit, I haven't been wanting to send off chapters anymore. Then I decided to go back to my old way of doing things with paper and pencil, just adapting it for the computer. I have the old document open to follow, then I open a brand new fresh file, just like pulling out a clean, new notebook to start over again. The upside to this? I don't have to take out the trash every other hour or spend hundreds of dollars on new notebooks! Huzzah! Well, it makes me sad sometimes as I do like to write with pencil and paper. I still do on occasion.

The plus, plus side to this is I already have my story written out, now I can write it down differently, clean it up and strengthen every sentence rather than filtering through it all to catch the ones that are weak. I'm sure this is how other people revise and edit, maybe they've been doing it for much longer than I have. If so, kudos to them! For me, however, it is a step in a new/old direction. I'm growing and changing as a person all the time, so why not grow and change as a writer too? I haven't felt this confident writing in a very long time. I still make the same mistakes over and over, but am now learning to catch them faster when I edit and revise this way. That is how it was before I had a computer, it worked then and it works even better now!

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