Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Secret 7

7. You must revise and revise again.

This means going through your work over and over trying to fix all its little problems until you realize it is impossible and you give up. Here is a little experiment for those of you who are thus far enjoying, or enjoying enough, my essay on the secret secrets of the secrets of writing. If you aren’t enjoying my essay this experiment isn’t really for you, but I do commend you on your tenacity. I don’t think I could stick with this sort of thing as long as this if I wasn’t enjoying it. As a reward I will tell you you can quit now. Really, you don’t have to keep reading. I was just kidding about the secrets of writing. There aren’t any. That’s why I said “secrets” three times. It was to be silly. But thanks for sticking with me so long and for giving me a fair chance.

Okay, so now that I’m here with just the enjoyers I’d like you to all stop reading here and go back to the beginning of this essay (1. Writing is hard work.) and read through to this point, then do it once more. I’ll wait here until you’re done.

Done? Good? Okay, I know you didn’t. I wouldn’t, that’s for sure, but had you actually gone back and read through this essay two more times I am confident you would not be enjoying it so much anymore. Besides being bored by the repetition, the flaws and flimsiness would start leaping out all over the place at your restless reader eyes. Counting from the time where I am writing this sentence fresh, in it’s first version, I have read through some version of this essay maybe fifteen or twenty times, and though that number will only go way up, as it is now the flaws are already leaping out at me in a staccato fashion. This causes me to frantically revise, which causes more rereading, which causes it all to fall apart even faster. So I am saying, yes! revise and revise again! But I am also saying that it is all hopeless and we are all doomed, which is actually a big secret of writing I was hoping to keep under wraps, but I guess it’s too late for that now.

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