WRITING VS. REVISINGA Lesson by Domenic Luciani
For those who do not understand the order of things
You have long since lost track of your coffee intake since this morning. You’ve ignored invitations from friends and calls from family members who are minutes away from filing a missing persons report for you. And work? You didn’t really like your job anyway. For the last few days you’ve been powering through this chapter and you have to say it might honestly be your best work ever. Everything you write is coming togeth-wait, what just happened? Suddenly you stop typing. Everything comes to a halt and you sit at your desk, bleary-eyed, desperately trying to figure out what just happened. It was all going so smoothly, but now that sentence you wrote does not naturally proceed to the next. Your writing has come to a screeching halt.
What do you do now? Human nature dictates we search out the problem. You go back, look over past sentences and try to mimic the process you know you started out with. The next few lines you write seem stale and you find yourself scrutinizing every word you write and how it affects all the other words. You focus on things like grammar and mechanics as you write. Eventually you just give up because you don’t want to write anymore and you feel like what you have written is just god awful. I’m going to make a statement that I hope you remember for the rest of your writing career.
THINKING IS THE ENEMY OF WRITING
What I am going to do now is tell you something amazing. Writing is NOT the same as REVISING. In fact, they should never be done together. Always keep these processes separate. ‘What? What does that even mean?’ you might ask. Well, Billy, take a seat and I’ll explain. What the process of writing is about is putting all of your thoughts down on paper (or computer screen, I’m not trying to be literal), and save the scrutiny for later. When you REVISE, you are then slimming down and polishing your piece of writing so that it MAY FUNCTION BETTER AS A WHOLE. Can you make a half a whole before you have the other half? NO, that doesn’t even make sense. When you over-think your writing and try to get it out perfectly in one go you are diluting the writing process. If you try to revise while you write you will A) dislike what you write and have a harder time writing it, and B) you will narrow the scope of your writing. When you narrow the scope of your writing you lose the organic nature writing is supposed to have. It should be a stream of consciousness uninterrupted by analytical thought. In the end, if you allow yourself breathing room to write, you will have a broader range with your piece. Also you can always go back and continue molding it. You have a certain amount of leeway that you would not get from stiff, straightforward writing.
THIS IS WHERE WRITERS BLOCK IS BORN: from trying too hard to say what you think you NEED to say rather than allowing yourself to say what you WANT to say.
IN CONCLUSION: Do not revise while you write. Let the words come naturally and don’t worry if it’s not perfect the first time around. It’s not going anywhere. You can always go back and fix it later.
Added on October 31, 2013
Last Updated on October 31, 2013
AboutThat is my real name, and that is really me in the picture. Like Patrick says, I'm not in the witness protection program. I mostly write books and stories. I like fantasy, or fiction, but if..