Monday, February 13, 2006

Priorities and revision

There's something to be said for front-loading the things in your life that you want to be priorities. One way of accomplishing this goal is to schedule those things for the time of day when you have the most energy and focus. For me, that's usually the early morning (as long as I have coffee).

Today, I began trying once again to get back on schedule with both exercising and writing. I got off to a pretty good start with some time spent on the exercise bike while reading a book for class tonight. Then I got a cup of coffee and started back to revising a story that I wrote last summer.

I know, I'm pretty bad with the revisions, but I did complete the first draft. That's been my goal with writing for a while. First, I wanted to write with consistent frequency. That meant every day, if possible, and it usually is possible for me to spend at least half an hour writing each week day.

Next, I wanted to finish what I started. I had to get over the common feeling that it had to be good or even better, great, right out of the chute. For a lot of writers, that's hard to overcome. We all want what we write to be perfect and each of us also tends to be our own harshest critic.

But the fact of the matter is that you don't have to get it perfect the first time. That's what revision is for. For those of you reading this who do some writing, this probably isn't a new idea at all, but if you don't write, it may come as a surprise.

There aren't too many Mozarts out there who can create something perfectly the first time. Most people have to get it out of their head first, onto paper or canvas, into the clay or marble and then refine as they work until it's something approaching the shape of those initial ideas.

Steve Leigh has an interesting blog entry on his own approach to revision. It's a bit different from my own in that I like to get a complete first draft as quickly as I can before I do much revising, but every writer has his or her own approach and Steve's obviously works for him.


Anonymous Steve Leigh said...

Umm... 'blogger,' not 'blogspot.' My mistake. Not enough coffee. Gotta get some more.

2/15/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

Thanks, Steve. I hope you don't mind me linking to your blog on this post. I know what you mean about the coffee, but, hey, I can quit anytime I want...

2/15/2006 08:58:00 AM  

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