Revise, revise, revamp, renew

I’ve been on a tear lately with first-draft ideas (picture books, that is), which is all kinds of exciting. Also, apparently it is possible to scribble out a draft while in the car. In the passenger seat, of course. Writing while driving seems less doable, though all the texting drivers out there might disagree with me. Also? Dear texting drivers, please use whatever highways I’m not on. Thanks.

It is also possible to write while sitting on a beach, although that probably defeats the whole purpose of being on vacation. In my defense, it was still relaxing. And I wasn’t going swimming anyway. And if I’d fallen asleep on the beach, I might have gotten sunburned. So really, writing was the better choice.

And now of course I have to start revisions. I’ve been trying to figure out the right rhythm for that. Write/revise/write/revise? Write, then ignore the story until I’ve forgotten its name, then revise? Write two stories, revise one, then write two more? It’s like some strange sort of mental dance.

The advice I frequently hear is put the story away for a bit, then take it out again and reread with fresh eyes. But how long is “a bit”? Sometimes I think of a better word or cleaner story arc five minutes after I’ve put the pen down. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes I need someone else to suggest improvements first. (Critique groups are wonderful.)

Maybe there is no one right answer. But regardless, I’ll keep working to find the right rhythm and groove. Though I am sure it would be very helpful to go back and sit on that beach for inspiration. (She said, pipe dreaming.)


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