On Writing & Revision

There’s a quote by Raymond Chandler that goes, “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
I think it’s reached the point where I’m bulimic, gorging on the work of my peers and on books I’ve done so much “pre-writing” that I hadn’t done enough writing. I’ve started to write again after a long time and doubting myself. It feels good, now the hard part is the clean up, or the revision (This is not to make light of those with eating disorders, but instead to extend the metaphor).

When you are reading your the work of your peers and with clarity and sensitivity, you are able to point out the flaws, you end up really talking about some of your work–you find the faults and strengths in yours as well. That’s the problem. I’ve been reading work that so good that I want to give up writing forever. I have a clear aesthetic with my work and I don’t want to infringe on someone else’s aesthetic.

When it comes to writing, I find it hard. Writing is hard. It’s never perfect the first time out. Most of my blog entries are done off the cuff, so when I go back and read them later, there are typos and just simple clarity issues. Most people don’t realize it but I can see it. I can see the flaws in my work. However, I am so impatient that when I am done, I stop. I don’t go back to revise until much much later.

This is why I don’t trust people who don’t revise and why I don’t trust people (poets especially) who say that they don’t like to read other people’s work. How can you grow as a writer if you are within your own vacuum? How can you expect people to read and respond to your work if you can’t do them the basic response in kind?

This was a rambling post to just say this: Stop lying. Writing is hard. Revision makes it fun.


3 thoughts on “On Writing & Revision

  1. Writing *is* hard. I’ve only recently started taking it seriously again. I actually hate revision though. I know I’m improving it, but I always feel awful knowing how bad it was to begin with.

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