What I Wish I’d Known (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my series of five things I wish I knew when I started writing. If you have just begun please see the first entry here.

2. Rewriting your work is a chore

One of the things that makes a writer a writer is rewriting. This is where the real work takes place. This is how a story molds into its final form. When writing, you can sit and put words down and worry about them later. Rewriting is the later you had to worry about. When I write I can create a page of text in a half hour or less if I am going at a good clip. When I am rewriting, there are times when I will meticulously scour every line or word of my writing just trying to get it right. It can take at least an hour or more to get a single page to the way I really want it. To steal a phrase from Hemingway, the hardest part of writing is “getting the words right.”

Just because rewriting is a chore, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. I love rewriting. I have already done the hard part of making up the story that I am trying to get out there. When I rewrite I get to revisit scenes that I was excited to write and now I can make them better. I can tie everything together in that one little way that needs to exist so the story is whole.

When I rewrite I can add those transition scenes and take out the useless portions.

When I rewrote my novel, I started with 500 pages. When I was done, I whittled it down to just over 300. It was a chore, but those 300 pages are so much better than the original 500.

Come back tomorrow and see what number 3 is. Do you have  any experiences with rewriting? What do you think about it?


5 thoughts on “What I Wish I’d Known (Part 2)

  1. Rewrites and revisions are painful. With fresh writing, I can sit down for marathon writing sessions, but rewriting has me stressed out within an hour. I think it’s because I have trouble focusing on just one scene, but keep thinking forward to all the other interconnected parts. Before I know it, I’ve convinced myself the whole thing is guano and should probably just be left in a deep dark cave. I hope that’s mostly just insecurity on my part.

    I’m finding it helps me to do do revisions in shorter sessions. An hour, two max, then go spend some time writing something fresh, like a blog post! Then I feel confident enough to go back and tackle more revisions.

    • I agree. When I am doing rewrites and make all the changes, I end up hating my work. It is like the work gets worse and worse and I hate it more and more. I find that when that happens I can usually count my work as done, at least for a little while. I also usually have between 3 and 4 months between writing and rewriting.

  2. Pingback: What I wish I’d known (Part 3) | T. Marcus Christian

  3. Pingback: T. Marcus Christian

  4. Pingback: What I wish I’d known (Part 5) | T. Marcus Christian

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