Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #91

Guest blogger Brian Hodge says it’s all about the rewrite.

If you haven’t already, learn to fall in deep, passionate love with the rewriting process. Very little writing is the best it can ever be straight out of the gate. But too many aspiring writers seem to feel as though they can’t (or shouldn’t) be bothered to work and rework and re-rework something. Malcolm Gladwell (OUTLIERS, THE TIPPING POINT) provides a starkly telling quote on the need to smash through the laziness: “I always say to young writers who are struggling, well, how many drafts do you do? And then I say, what, you only do three drafts? I do ten.”

Even an early mentor of mine, quite successful, told me that rewrites felt to him like beating a dead horse. Of course he did them anyway. Fortunately, to me, the revision phase has always felt like when a work comes most fully alive … when the seedlings flourish, the tonal shadings emerge, and it starts the climb toward fulfilling its potential.

Brian Hodge is the author of 14 books. His fourth collection, PICKING THE BONES, was released in April with a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Connect with him through his web site (www.brianhodge.net), blog (www.warriorpoetblog.com), or Facebook (www.facebook.com/brianhodgewriter).

1 comment:

  1. Definitely took me a while to embrace the rewrite. Mostly because I kept going through changing words here and there, initially. I just didn't really know HOW. I think I'd written 4 books before I had the epiphany on it. FINALLY I think I've got it... but then I write in a much different way now.