16. Revision: Seeing Again
The 'Backwards' Research Guide for Writers - Using your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration - Sonya Huber
Sonya Huber [+]
Facing a messy or confusing draft can be quite discouraging. You might look at the disconnected pieces and feel a sense of defeat, or you might worry that these threads will never connect to form a finished piece of writing. As you mature as a writer, however, you will recognize this feeling as a necessary and unavoidable step between the beginning and end of any project. The familiarity of the feeling might make it less daunting each time you experience it. This is the same type of feeling that long-distance runners experience about midway through a race, and they recognize it as a pattern. The saying, “A lotus grows from the mud,” implies that beautiful finished projects must emerge from murky places, from darkness and chaos. For many writers there is simply no way to write a finished piece without a confusing, contradictory first draft. These same writers encounter failure when they skimp and try to finish a project in one draft. Many writers who skip revision assume they cannot write well. In truth, they have not given themselves a chance to move from draft to revision to polished writing. The technology of word processing allows us for constant revision, and in some ways the idea of a draft is outmoded because many writers constantly redraft as they write by cutting, pasting, typing, and erasing. If this is your writing process, you might make the argument that it is unnecessary to print out a draft in order to revise. The true sense of the word revision is to see something from a new angle. To gain this perspective and new angle, you need to take a break, step back from your essay, clear your head, and then return to see your text with fresh eyes.