Hitting Your Groove

Did you ever read a draft of something you wrote and feel vaguely unhappy with it? Like an outfit that doesn’t work but you can’t say what isn’t working. Worse still, every time you try to pinpoint the source of the problem, it escapes your grasp. So you couldn’t say something is wrong, but in your gut you feel it isn’t right? So you jot down a note with a broad indicator like: not flowing, awkward, character feels weird.

You hope that on the next read through, these words will trigger something in your mind and you’ll be able to explain what is wrong and fix it.

Inevitably, when I walk away and start doing something else, a tiny part of my mind keeps mulling it over. Until Eureka! I know exactly what I don’t like/what is wrong with the passage.

Then the revisions come fast and furious. Like someone else is guiding my hand. Suddenly I know with utmost certainty what doesn’t belong and what needs to be fixed. I slap myself in the forehead for not seeing it sooner. New word choices, better sentence structure, cut redundancies.

In the end, I feel extremely satisfied with my work. Exhausted from working hard, I lay on the couch to watch tv until sleep became an absolute necessity.

Does it take you a while to identify what is not working in your writing? How do you handle the revision process?

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5 Responses to Hitting Your Groove

  1. cherilaser says:

    Hi! If you have a minute to visit my blog and scan through the posts, you’ll see a large number of segments that address the revision/editing process. Let me know what you think. I’d really enjoy having a conversation!


  2. berry says:

    I am not a professional writer. But in college I would stress over term papers ad nauseam. I would add words then take them out. Delete sentences doubting my ability. It was so stressful. Then I would have my husband take out the red pen. Brutal. Talk about self esteem destroying. Had none after that. Then one day I just didn’t give a damn and wrote what I felt. No. Not an excellent paper. But I was happy with it. Freed from the stress of the pen.

    • The hardest part is second guessing yourself. I forced myself to keep writing even when I knew a passage was garbage. Just to get it all down. And every revision I think I’m done and then something hits me or I learn something new and realize I have to fix my manuscript again. When I feel bad, I read the first version again and laugh my butt off. It helps me see how far I’ve come and know that I am on a path to being better. 🙂

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