Open Wounds

Real Writer’s Write Right

Speed Dating Authors NYC DOE Library Services Conference

Authors who Dated at Speed

I took notes at the Library Services Conference in NYC on Tuesday.

One thing that really struck me (there were many things but this was the first) was a comment by Walter Dean Myers (yes, him again). He said he spends his time doing three writing tasks:

  1. Planning
  2. Writing
  3. Re-writing
It’s such a simple paradigm. When I heard it I thought it was brilliant. I like simple. Plus it resonated with me. I find the distinction between real writing (usually defined as the first draft) and all the rest of the writing process to be artificial. It’s just the way I see it. If I spend three months planning a project (researching, thinking, daydreaming, putting plot points together in my head in imaginary lines, maybe outlining, maybe taking notes, listening in on conversations my new characters have in my head, picturing them standing in front of me, listening to them breathe – what? doesn’t everyone do this?) that’s a very real and essential part of my writing process – and for me it’s writing. The putting down of the first draft is the most fun but it can’t happen for me unless I’ve spent the time before, planning. And then of course there’s re-writing or revising, over and over again. That can take even longer than the writing part depending on how the process goes. But no book is finished and ready for an editor’s eyes until it has been perfected in the revision process. Most writers don’t like the re-writing process, understandably. It’s the hardest part but for me too but it is also the most satisfying part because when it works and I find the right edits to make a manuscript whole, it feels wonderful. Searching for the edits sucks. It’s that simple. But finding them… ahhhhhhh.

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