Writing and Revising
There are no take backs or do overs in real life. Once you say or do something, it’s out there for the world to hear or see, good or bad. It’s said and done.
Unless you are a writer.
As a writer, your work is put down on paper, but unlike out in the real world, you get to reread it and rewrite it. Making adjustments, improving your prose to exactly the way you want it before anyone sees it.
For me, creating a new story is exciting. Getting it down on paper makes it real. When writing the first draft, I don’t worry at all about punctuation, spelling, etc. I just want to get the story on my computer so I can look at it and know it exists. Yes! I made it from beginning to the end.
However, there are times I begin a story and I do not know where or how it’s going to end. Those stories where I hit a dead-end remain in a folder for days, weeks, months, years, and sometimes forever. I never throw them away. One never knows when the right ending will come along. That said, I am always happy when I can write “The End” on a written work no matter how sloppy that first draft may be.
Revising the story and editing are my next steps. As I reread, revisions can lead sometimes to drastic changes or maybe not. I look for ways to improve my sentence structure, looking for too many repeated words, trimming a phase that can be written clearer with fewer words. At some point, I put the story away and move on to something else. Days, maybe weeks later, I will take another look and with fresh eyes find more corrections or changes to make.
I have no limit on how many times I go through this process. It ends when I feel satisfied.
Truthfully, that’s not the end. I have a couple of people who are gracious enough to plow through each of my stories and suggest editing and other changes. They always find something I missed, and that is both embarrassing and frightening. After I receive their feedback, I make the changes suggested if I agree and then reread the story again one or two more times.
Then comes the point when you have to let the story be out there on its own. It’s like a child who has grown up and is no longer held by Mom or Dad’s hand.
At that point, all you can do is pray.