Had something of a breakthrough day yesterday on my revision when the mists cleared and things started to fall into place. Every morning before I work, I’m continuing to read from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft. I can’t say enough good things about this book, as Le Guin is not the sort of instructor who tells you what you HAVE to do, rather she offers her opinions and suggests what you might do.
In the introduction she discusses something near and dear to my heart at present:
That “cooling off” period is essential to revision. If there’s one thing almost all writers agree on, it’s that we can’t trust our judgment on our own freshly written work. To see its faults and virtues we need to look at it after a real interval.
Taking time away and coming back to a piece was one of the hardest lessons I learned when I was a younger writer, but I’m glad I did as it helped me to love and appreciate revision as opposed to seeing it as a chore. The lens of time is also the lens of clarity and the lens through which you can see what parts of your story truly suck.
Now, I truly love revision–especially after I have some time away. I do revise as I go and I do revise right after I’m finished, but I also like to take time away and come back because that is when the real work begins. That is when I cut everything that makes me cringe.