OTF: Ode to Rewriting

1.
Oh, do rewritings eventually drive you nuts?
Here’s what I’ve found: writing and editing
Are actually two things. In the latter, you push
Some commas around, maybe tweak a word
But in the former you start from scratch. A blank
Slate. Just the wisps of your intentions swirling
Around your ears as you push you pen to paper
Once again. The result? Fewer moved commas,
That’s for sure!

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2.
Oh, do rewritings get you mad? (Or drive you there?)
It seems that rewriting often becomes just editing,
Maybe pushing a comma here or tweaking a word there…
But to actually rewrite a passage, rewrite it from scratch,
Sometimes that’s the way to getting closer to that
Truth you are seeking. You can actually start on a whole
New blank page, or just write below the old passage (no
Sneaking peeks!) with just the memory of what you wrote
Before to guide you. 

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3.
Oh, do you hate to rewrite? One thing I’ve noticed is that
Sometimes it’s not rewriting at all, it’s just pushing the
Same slop around the plate. What I do sometimes is just
Stop and actually rewrite the passage. From scratch. Scrap
Everything that came before and try to remember (a) what my
Original intention was and (b) the things from the first
Draft that actually worked (without sneaking peeks)…

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4.
Oh! Do I go nuts rewriting sometimes! It seems like all I’m doing is
Moving the same slop around the plate. What I’ve realized is that
There is a distinct difference between “rewriting” and “editing”.
Sometimes it is worth scrapping what you have altogether and
Start fresh with just the whispers of your intentions swirling around your ears.
It could be on the same page, or just written beneath (no sneaking peeks!)
If you’re still not happy, do it again. Then, when you have all the versions in
Front of you, choose the best or (more likely) incorporate the best from
Each passage. I find this usually works out my thoughts and, more importantly,
Any kinks in the writing for a smoother, more vibrant text!

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Ode to Rewriting – Final

Do you ever get that feeling when you’re rewriting that all you’re doing is moving the same slop around the plate?

What I’ve found is that there is a difference between “rewriting” and “editing”. Sometimes, if I’m banging my head and I’m still not happy with the passage I’m working on, I’ll just scrap it altogether and start fresh. It could be on a whole new blank page, or it could be right underneath. I try to avoid sneaking peeks though – at least not yet! I just let the whispers of what I wrote before guide my fingers around the keyboard.

Then, if I’m still not happy, I’ll wait a little bit (hours, days, whatever) and do it again. And again. And again, until I’m happy with it. At some point, I review all the passages at once and choose the best or (more likely) incorporate the best from each passage. I find that this helps me work out my thoughts and smoothes out any kinks in the writing.

I’ve been really stuck many times in my writing career (more times than I’d like to remember…) but this method has worked for me every time!

~Graham

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