In the Workshop

Revision is the part of writing that I enjoy the most, even though drafting can be a fun rush, all of the excitement as you press forward, line after line, sentence after sentence, page after page, and then, BAM!, the first draft is done.

I’m currently revising an essay that has already been accepted for publication, and the editor emailed me some specific revisions he’d like to see. I agree with his suggestions, believing that if I execute them well, the essay will be much improved.

It’s a nice position to be in as a writer, as opposed to say, the second draft of a piece, which is often the hardest and slowest revision for me. With this essay, I’m tinkering and puttering.

Both my grandfathers were men who worked with their hands, and when they weren’t working their various jobs, they worked in their garages and shops. Fixing things. Making things. Improving things.

With these nine pages, I’m doing the same with words and sentences. There’s the satisfaction of knowing that I’m tightening the essay, polishing it, making it better. That’s part of the draw for me of writing–taking something from the initial stages and transforming it into a coherent made thing that means something to me, and, hopefully, to others.

I’m in the workshop that is my desk. Variously colored pens within reach. Scratch paper nearby. Candle burning. Glass of cold water. Mug of hot coffee. Picture of my wife beside my computer. Paper copy marked up. Electronic copy on the screen.

Move this paragraph. Cut that phrase. Reorder these sections. Replace that verb. Add more concrete nouns. Time is fluid. I’ve worked on one page. I could do this for hours, even with a page or two. If my responsibilities would allow me, I would.

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