Friday Fix (Craft): Writing is Re-Writing

gold mineYou may have heard the oft-used expression that “writing is re-writing”.  There’s a lot of truth in this statement, a truth we writers would do well to apply.

The first draft of a manuscript is just that: a first draft.  In other words, it is the initial outpouring of the story from the level of the heart.  We could also call this level the level of the right brain.  During this initial outpouring of the story, we turn off our inner critic and simply let the story tell itself.  We allow what is in the depths of our creative subconscious to emerge in all of its raw but quintessential form.

Once the right brain has done its job, the left brain steps in to polish the raw material.  It is at this point that the re-writing–aka the revision process–begins.  Revising is the act of taking the raw material and polishing it to a brilliant sheen.  It is the process whereby you take the basic structure of your story and adorn it with those elements that add beauty and uniqueness.

For most writers–yours truly, included–the revision process is an exciting one. Like a miner mining for gold, the writer in the revision process digs deep to uncover hidden treasures in the words she has written.

The next time you approach revision with dread, think of the process from the goldminer’s point of view.  Mine the words you have already written with the goal of discovering the treasures hidden deep within them.   

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One thought on “Friday Fix (Craft): Writing is Re-Writing

  1. Dear MaryAnn; beautifully and metaphorically said! First, second and even third drafts are the rough, ‘unmined’ mills of the writer’s heart/soul/subconscious, and indeed, the true art comes with multiple revisions, refining, revisiting and rewriting. Thank you—so many students are unaware of the power of your words and advice, but it’s so very true; nearly impossible to ever have a ‘first draft’ of nearly anything.