on revision.

I’ve been knee-deep in the mire of revising m4m. After every reading, I draft a revision in preparation for the next. I find it’s generally a good practice to fall into: it makes me focus on my writing constantly, and keeps a work in progress progressing. It keeps on the forefront of my writer’s brain the notion that works are never finished, merely abandoned, and that at all points there’s a wealth of new efforts to wrap myself in.

All the same, it is damnable work. I find myself staring at pages of text and wondering if my first draft was my best effort. A line jumps out here or there that needs rewording, either for clarity or characterization, and sometimes the order of those same lines looks better rearranged. Those are the easy fixes–the ones that are glorified copy editing. If I gave the script to a friend, they could do the same work without an ounce of creation.

It’s when the dirt starts getting under my nails that the revising process becomes a fickle bitch. That’s when I begin doubting the strength of my creative powers, and wonder if a single word here or there needs work, or if the entire damn thing needs to be destroyed and restarted. Third drafts are a special hell; everything I suffered through in my first revision now feels like it was a waste of time, and I’m entering into that charming phase where I hate the whole fucking script and dear God, why did I ever even bother, it’s a hot mess that doesn’t deserve…

And so on and so forth. I find it best to rock some white noise in an out of the way browser tab and stare harder. Somewhere in the rubbish pile a story exists, and the only way to find it is by pushing aside the agonizing self-doubt. I’ll never hate a piece more than while revising it, but when I hear it out loud, oh how wonderful it is to fall in love again.

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