There are a lot of golden words in a writer’s vocabulary, both literally and figuratively. But the one I’ve had on my mind this past week is, “rewrite.” Rewriting comes naturally to some, and they do it whether its intentional or not. For others, rewriting is the bane of their existence and they’d rather tear out their hair than revise another word. Then there’s that lovely middle ground where the majority of writers fall. They could like it, not mind it, find it tedious, or just not give two shakes about it. I’m still not sure where I stand on this emotional spectrum, but the point I’m trying make here is that regardless of how we writers feel about rewriting, we still have to do it! So what’s the best way to get it done?
There’s no one answer to this question, simply because everyone is different. Just as we all have our own routines to get ourselves in the writing mood, everyone has their own way of getting the most out of their revisions. That’s why it’s a good idea for every writer to contemplate this question and to determine what works best for him/her personally. Rewriting is different from creating the original draft in that any revisions you make will affect the rest of your work, thereby creating more revisions to be addressed later on. In other words, rewriting will take a lot of time! If you don’t figure out how you like to do it now, you may regret it as your still figuring it out four hours later.
As for how I’ve made out with rewriting, I’ve discovered that I spend a lot of time on it…without writing anything. I sit at my desk, lean back in my chair, and instead of typing away on my laptop, I stare out the window, thinking about what I’m going to do. There’s no doubt, when you’re rewriting a novel, a lot of time will go into your thoughts. You have to connect the dots in your story and determine how a single change will play out in the rest of your plot line. On the other hand, too much thinking could lead to hours spent with only having written a few sentences. That being said, I’ve decided to follow Nike’s motto: Just Do It!
When rewriting a section, I’m going to think about it for a little bit, and then just have at it whether I’ve fully figured out the scene or not. I may not like doing it at first, but just getting my thoughts out on paper (the screen, if you want to get technical) is better than letting it swirl around in my head. It took me the whole week to rewrite five new pages. Let’s hope that with my new plan, rewriting the next five or so will go a lot more smoothly.