I took a few days off from my manuscript after finishing a large, mechanical revision. This morning, I’m ready to start anew. I’m turning, once again, to Stephen Koch in The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop:

We have said from the beginning that all writing lives off a two-stroke heartbeat of releasee followed by taking control. Antoher term for this rhythmic alternation between letting go and taking hold is revision, and as David Remick, the editor of The New Yorker puts it, “revision is all there is.” There are writers who imagine that doing a single draft is somehow a sign of superior skill. This is simply untrue. The biographical facts are clear: Most writers, including the most proficient and greatest, produce their work in many drafts, and do so from the start of their careers until the end. It is not even true that as you become more confident and skilled, the number of drafts you do will decrease. Sometimes the reverse is true: When he was my student, Madison Smartt Bell wrote brilliant prose and invariably wrote it in a single draft. It’s my impression that his first published novels were not greatly revised from their first drafts. Yet as this born virtuoso’s career has made him steadily more accomplished, Bell has become more, not less, of a reviser.

Somehow this blurb makes revision seem a little bit sexier to me today. Truly, I do love revising–it’s just that last week changing the I’s to she’s etc, was torturous. With that said, it’s given me new eyes for this manuscript, which is priceless.

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