Welcome, new and old visitors! I noticed that I have a few strangers stalking me, so first things first… It’s nice to meet you! Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to check out my ramblings.
On to today’s topic of choice, revising (also known as majorly editing your own work). I know a lot of people who seriously despise the whole revision process. I used to be one of them. It was tedious and boring and the words we write should be perfect the first time around, right? Wrong! Once I actually started editing my work for more than spelling and grammar (in case you haven’t noticed, I use revising and editing interchangeably since I do both at the same time. See the chart below for the difference), I realized that it was really only tedious and boring in spots because the story itself was bogged down or too light in those spots. In other words, the original writing wasn’t perfect, thus revisions were needed. It’s a vicious cycle, I know.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve actually learned to enjoy revising my work. Not just because I know everything will be better for it, but because it can be fun. The key is to not take it so serious. Sometimes, it will take multiple revisions to mold a story or poem or whatever into something you deem presentable. That’s okay! So, here are the top three reasons I like revising.
1. The story is most likely done, so there’s no pressure to find an ending! You’ve got one. Now, it’s about polishing the words on the page to make everything make sense. You already know where the story’s going, you just have to fill in the plotholes and give the reader a smooth ride.
2. Nothing is set in stone! You can make all the changes you want. If you don’t like a change you made, change it back. See a major flaw? Guess what! Revision is your chance to fix it. Don’t like that adjective? Find a new one. Think a character needs to be removed? Do it. This is your chance to fix all the things, big and small.
3. Lastly, you have a chance to look objectively at your work. I know that sounds like utter BS to most writers, because we’re so invested in our characters’ lives during the writing process that they become special to us. However, it’s important to get some distance, then honestly evaluate your own writing. It not only makes for a better story, but if we recognize our weaknesses, it makes handling criticism a whole lot easier. You don’t want to be like this cat.
As much as I have come to like the revision process, I want to conclude with a word of caution. I know I said not to take the process too seriously, but you also can’t take the end result too serious. We all strive for perfection (which is great and all), but don’t let it stop you from getting your work out there. I’m sorry to say that there will always be someone who doesn’t like your writing. No matter how much you change, it’s not going to please everyone. As long as you like it, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Imperfection is a wonderful thing! It makes it real.