Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Secrets from Professional Writers (Part 3 of 10)

3. We Rewrite.

The best writing is rewriting. That means not being easily satisfied and sensing we can make our prose better.

To rewrite means to change our writing so that it becomes sharper and more coherent. That's what moves writers into the professional level.

When we rewrite we rethink what we've written. We admit that some words feel exactly right and we leave them. We delete sentences that don't flow or we add words for clarity.

I say it this way: I write subjectively; I edit objectively. That means that on my first draft I let words flow without censoring or interrupting. Once I finish I go back and objectively correct what I've written.

Effective rewriting is a skill we learn gradually
by going through the process hundreds of times.


  1. Thank you for this. Sometimes I feel that I have reread a my work so many times that the words are becoming engraved in my retinas. Then I wonder if I am being led by my ego, frantically changing and revising. Thanks for reminding me that I am not insane, I am simply learning to write.

  2. I appreciate Jackie's comments about rewriting and that of others who have written directly to me.

    I want to tell you a secret: The best writers not only rewrite, but they enjoy rewriting.
    They consistently seek ways to improve. They might debate in their minds over whether little, small, minute, or tiny is the exact adjective they need. Bu when they decide, it will be the right word. That what makes them better than those who work on a manuscript and say, "It's good enough."

    That's my kind of writer. It says they insist on each manuscript being better written than the previous one.

  3. Cec,
    As always, we love to read your nuggets of truth to grow by. :) --I call that 1st draft "raw cookie dough--nobody likes unbaked cookies." Wow--it's amazing I'm "not a good writer but a great re-writer!" Gratitude and abundant blessings from the Rockies/us!

  4. I always call my first draft the "vomit stage."

    Kind of disgusting, but that's how I get everything out. Then I go back and edit, re-edit, and then edit again.


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