Today I’m beginning a project a long overdue: revising a novel from 8 years ago. In an earlier post, I shared some background information. Today I am beginning the revision journey, dedicating the next six weeks to writing a second draft.
Saturday evening, I read the entirety of that first draft, taking a few breaks, and skimming some portions. But I did read it. My memories of the novel, and of writing it, didn’t always square with the actual text. There is no other way to say it: the first draft was dreadfully awful.
As I reread it, I wondered why I had set myself up for such a gargantuan task in writing another draft. I wanted to whine about it to someone, but I knew I wouldn’t find any sympathy. Writers write. It’s what they do. Instead, I framed this revision process around opportunity. Nothing is sacred in that first draft. Anything is changeable.
I’ve already mentally catalogued those aspects that need to change, most notably the location, the background of the narrator/main character, the main points of conflict, the renovation and removal of so much autobiographical content. I’m not going to worry about perfection, but rather focus my attention on writing my 1,000-plus words each day.
There’s a lot of work ahead. In this period wherein Measuring Time & Other Stories is out of my hands being reviewed by a copy editor and being read by individuals I admire whose words will grace the back cover, I have the opportunity for a project that wouldn’t fit into my school-year schedule. So I begin my writing hopeful and excited, remembering that I’m doing something I love.