After catching up on chores and errands, I’m finally getting back into my 1,000 words a day routine: wake up, put on the coffee, and get my ass in the chair. But today I found myself doing something I seldom do, especially so early on in the novel: rewriting.
I have always been a draft person. Step one: write the piece all the way through. Step two: go back and make revisions. Step three: repeat step two until satisfied. I’ve been told many times that creating a formal outline would help eliminate the numerous drafts I insist on writing, but I never really took to it. I have my system. It works for me.
But this morning I found myself printing off the first fifty pages and reading it in a coffee shop all morning, jotting down notes, crossing out paragraphs and replacing them with new ones, littering the pages with arrows and grammar codes. It took about two hours and afterwards, I had used up all my energy and hadn’t increased my word count.
I have talked with plenty of authors who revise along the way, and claim how well it works for them, but I am still skeptical. The question is, when do we find ourselves wanting to revise? If it’s part of your routine, write a new chapter and revise the one from the day before, I can see how it can be effective. But today, I knew that the next scene I need to write is a difficult, not yet fully developed police procedural scene that I find really boring to write and therefore will surely turn out boring to read. The revisions this morning served as procrastination, knowing that I have to work on the book but not wanting to tackle the difficult chapter ahead.
While the revisions needed to be made, and it has given me motivation to push the story forward tomorrow, how much of today was wasted? Will I eliminate drafts because of the editing I did today? We’ll see.
Authors, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is revising along the way productive or just procrastination?