Jan 18, 2008

writing quotations about editing

“Revision is a lot like housecleaning. It’s dirty and overwhelming when you face off with the entire job. It would be easier just to dust the surfaces and sweep the dirt into the corners rather than do a thorough job,” says Jordan E. Rosenfeld in the February 2008 issue of Writer’s Digest.

Writers such as Joan Didion and Roald Dahl describe the writing process in a slightly different way.

Writing quotation: “My writing is a process of rewriting, of going back and changing and filling in. In the rewriting process you discover what’s going on, and you go back and bring it up to that point. Sometimes you’ll just push through, indicate a scene or a character, leave a space, then go back later and fill it in,” says Joan Didion.

Roald Dahl puts it this way: “By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”

Writing tip: Even though editing your writing is worse than housecleaning (it’s a common habit to get distracted with housework to avoid actually writing), revision is obviously imperative to good writing. Approach it like you do with any task you dislike: promise you’ll only do it for 15 minutes or half an hour. If you’re still into it, keep going.

Before you know it, your first or second draft is revised. Then you can begin polishing the next one. C'mon, you know you wanna.

These writing quotations came from Shoptalk: Learning to Write With Writers by Donald Murray.

1 comment:

  1. I love editing. I also love writing. So, I have a blog. This allows me to do both - in my own time.

    I laughed when I read you say that housework is a procrastination tool for re-writing. I agree.

    Even though I love writing and re-writing, I also fall prey to the Housecleaning Tyrant, who tells me I simply have to do a load of laundry instead of curling up with my laptop (or paper and pen).

    The one thing I have learned through re-writing is to "let go".
    Let go of what? I have learned to "let go" of what I initially thought was such a good phrase or sentence or paragraph. Or even an excellent word. This word sounded so different, original and unique that I just had to write it in my story.

    But on re-reading, it just doesn't fit.

    Loved this post. Will now take the time to explore the rest of your blog.