Year: 2018

The First Draft: Lessons learned (1)

Initial drafts are an adventure. That first gesture of catching an idea and wrapping it in language is awe inspiring. Mystery draws us forward: Why do I tremble at this memory? What will this character say next? What do I really think about this subject? Writers bring to the blank page an idea—some motivating spark—but we don’t know its form, we don’t know half the content, we often don’t know the real reason we’re writing. We certainly don’t yet know which exact sentences will emerge. We come with an agenda but also, ideally, an open heart and a willingness to be surprised. Elizabeth Jarret Andrew in Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice Before I plunge head-on to the revision stage,  I thought it would be good to look back and harvest the lessons I learned from creating the first draft. Indeed it was an adventure and just like all adventures, there was a whole range of emotions that came up: In the beginning it was exciting; but a few months into the process, it …

Revising the First Draft

    At its most basic, revision is seeing anew. Revision is the complicated, profound work of creation— an act that simultaneously creates within and through the creator. Revision changes the writer, deepens the writer’s work, and infuses that work with the potential to move readers. Revision addresses our innermost longings. At its core, revision is the spiritual practice of transformation— of seeing text, and therefore the world, with new eyes. Done well, revision returns us to our original love. – Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew   I  had been silent for a while…again. And again, work on the memoir had been shelved for an equally long time. Finishing the first draft felt like running a marathon for the first time: physical exhaustion combined with the exhilaration of finishing a daunting task. I thought that revising the first draft would be easier.  Then I realized I didn’t know how to go about it. I had of course rewritten many pieces of writing through the decades, but they were all short and small pieces compared to the first …