On Revising

I am learning that writing is mostly revising. For the last year I have been working on a new book. After a long, slow process of filling the blank page, I am now editing. This editing, I’ve found out, is often emptying the page.

My book is too long. There are too many words that don’t move the story along. My job now is to remove them and nourish the fruitful words. It is a bit like pruning a fruit tree I suppose. I’ve never actually pruned a fruit tree. The trick is removing the proper words and keeping the good ones. The goal is to do more with less.

Sometimes in this process I am astounded by words that I thought were good. In hindsight it is obvious they don’t belong. When I typed them though, they seemed to fit. Perhaps as I become a more experienced writer this process will be easier. Maybe not. Perhaps all those extra words bring the good ones with them. I don’t really know. For now though, I am wielding the pruning shears and trimming it down.


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