Revising. And writing advice.

Dean Wesley Smith recently reposted his blog post about rewriting, in which he describes his writing process as 1) write a draft as quickly as possible, 2) spellcheck, 3) touch up whatever his first reader found.

The first time I read this post (a couple years ago?) it sent me into writer-inadequacy: But my first drafts are terrible! It will take me decades to learn to write a story without revising it!

This time, I focused on this paragraph:

As a putter-inner, I write thin (my poetry background still not leaving me alone) and then as I go along, I cycle back and add in more and then cycle again and add in more, staying in creative voice, just floating around in the manuscript as I go along. Some people of this type make notes as they go along and then go back in a touch-up draft and put stuff in.

Which…sounds like what I call revising. The whole post is long, and goes into detail about creative voice vs critical voice. Apparently if you revise while you’re in creative voice, it doesn’t count. Ok, I’m being slightly snarky there. He does have a lot of good points. But I have revised a lot of writing over the years–books, stories, nonfiction–and I can’t tell you what’s different about the way I’m thinking about the novel I’m starting the first draft of and the novel I’m revising. (He says rewrite, I say revise, but we’re both defining those terms as changing “major things like plot points, character actions, style of sentences, and so on.”)

This is why writing advice is so fun. Everyone works differently. Read a bunch of it, see what works for you, and if your process works for you, don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you’re “doing it wrong”.

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