When I was younger and had started writing poetry, I was absolutely resistant to the idea of the rewrite. I felt that it destroyed the authentic nature of the poem. I was this female version of Holden Caulfield, trying not to be a phony. (I do wish I had those old poems, so I can see how they differed from then to now.)
I’ve since realized that sometimes the first draft may have one or two shining nuggets, but the rest may be a heaping pile of dung. I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I realize the necessity of changing things around. Deleting, deleting, deleting. This idea would work best in something totally different. This phrasing was a bit awkward. Oops, did I really write that? I’m pretty sure that’s not what I meant.
Then there’s beta readers, and their purpose in the process. Beta readers are folks who read your stuff before it’s published to give it a new pair of eyes. Even after writing, taking a break from it, going back to revise (rinse, repeat), you’re still going to miss something. You’re just too close to the project. Seems better for bigger projects than smaller ones, but that’s just my opinion.
Revising is hard work, but it brings you that much closer to a finished manuscript.
If you want to learn more about the revision process itself, I had a guest post by Leti Del Marr where she gives an excellent how-to-tutorial here.
What is your rewrite process? Do you enjoy revisions? Let me know in the comments, and subscribe!