Writing Is Rewriting - Op-Ed Piece
“The only kind of writing is rewriting.” - Ernest Hemingway
The phrase “writing is rewriting” has been uttered by the lips of a multitude of writers. Nonwriters do not know this. I didn’t know this until I wrote a novel with the intent to submit it to a literary agent. Before that, all of my writing was for me. Perhaps I would take some of this and some of that and create a masterpiece, I thought. It wasn’t until I sat down to write with the intent to sell, did I fully understand this phrase.
“Writing is Rewriting.”
It’s speculated that Beethoven created up to 70 drafts of a musical phrase before fully embracing it. Billy Crystal, in a guest appearance on a sitcom, shared this quote. David Sedaris has a MasterClass on the topic, which I desperately want to take if only I made more than a writer’s income.
The way I experience writing is allowing my free thoughts to pour onto the page. It is a creative process that can be forced but people will know. If I write when I am “feeling it,” my written words are more likely to invoke a feeling in my readers. If I share a painful or humiliating story from my past but I have moved through it and don’t feel the experience deeply anymore, then I am less likely to bring on those feelings in my audience. I know that I must get back to that state I was in while I write my story, in order to move people.
“I would write a book or a short story, at least three times—once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say.” - Bernard Malamud
The problem is, sometimes I have the time to write when I am not feeling particularly inspired. I know what I want to say. I have rehearsed the story in my head over and over as the creative juices were flowing. Sometimes I need to write quickly to get the words out. Then, when I read my piece another time or another day, I can instantly feel which sentences are flat. I know the words which come across as dull, braggy, or preachy.
I start to rewrite. I allow the creative part of my brain to bring me more wisdom. I channel the words that I hope will fully convey my feelings. I trust my message will come across the page as I intend. I read my edits the next day. Some of it is better. The words take me back to that place, to that time, and I am fully in that moment again.
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” - Elmore Leonard
When writing articles for other people, I like to allow enough of a deadline to be able to write when I am feeling inspired. I also prefer to finish a piece 24 hours before it is due. This gives me time and space to review the completed article the next day.
The next day is always more enlightening. The next day brings about so much clarity. The next day can pick up on subtle changes that must be made so clearly. The next day is a gift. I am hesitant to turn in assignments when I don’t allow the next day to teach me.
Many people who hire writers, do not realize the time and effort it takes to write a quality article or chapter of a book. I am sometimes given very short deadlines and I want to say yes. But more importantly, I want to produce stellar work and build strong relationships with those I write for. Deciding on a deadline is like imagining how to create magic or a hit song by next week. There are so many forces that will come into play during the writing process.
“There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.” - Elie Wiesel
I equally enjoy placing the first words on the page and rewriting the piece later. They say some writers enjoy the first draft while others enjoy reviewing and editing more. I find all parts of the writing process stimulating and rewarding. The part I have not fully embraced is how to determine when a lengthy piece of writing is complete. If given the choice, I will continue rewriting indefinitely.
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About The Blogger
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden lives and breathes in warm Gainesville, Florida. You will find her writing at an outdoor cafe or on her expansive back porch, always with hot tea or chilled kombucha to keep the creative juices flowing. Anastacia is a writer & editor, a matchmaker & a Licensed Midwife. She enjoys writing articles, books, and ghostwriting on various projects. She writes articles on health, vulnerability, empowerment, yoga, mindfulness, social/emotional learning, travel, nutrition, pregnancy, parenting, feminism, natural remedies, and emotional health. She has three books in various stages of editing. She is the author of Greater Than A Tourist: Gainesville, Florida. She makes art with found objects, cooks delicious and organic whole foods, practices yoga, exercises outside, travels, and writes daily as her passion.
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