Writing to me has been cathartic throughout my entire life. There has never been a time when I wasn’t writing.
I would write a poem, short story, or similar, and then hide it away from the world because I was afraid of people seeing who I am.
Or I would let my friends see my writing, but of course, their biased opinions never helped me grow.
As I got older, I realized that writing is more than therapy for me, I enjoyed it for the artistic process, and I loved entertaining people in my way.
As such, a revision was never part of my process before. It never occurred to me that what I wrote should be polished, fine-tuned like a piano, to be something better than what I puked on the page.
One of my fears when I first started this program last year was that I wouldn’t take constructive criticism.
But as I sat and critiqued others in workshops and had them critique me, I realized that the only way I could be the best writer I am capable of being is to be open to it all.
What’s great about our workshops is that sometimes you’ll get feedback from someone about a plot point or characterization, and you think to yourself, “that’s ridiculous. It’s right there on the page!”
I tend to acknowledge those politely but never incorporate them because I don’t want anyone to be prescriptive to my work.
That’s why I never pursued journalism.
EThe editors changed everything I ever submitted for the school paper so that it didn’t sound like me anymore. I wanted complete control of whatever had my name on it.
I saw that creative writing would be the best way to do that and still allow the expelling of the demons from my brain.
I think the most challenging thing about revision is finding the time to do it. When I get my critiques back from a workshop, I put them aside in the closet.
I don’t even want to see it right away. I like to let the verbal and written criticisms percolate for as long as possible.
When I do block the time to revise, it’s because I’ve stepped away from it long enough to see it with brand new eyes, or I shared it with someone who gave me excellent criticism that I’m eager to incorporate into the work while keeping my voice.
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