Write to Rewrite

Reading what other writers have to say about the craft remains invaluable resources for me. On frustration-filled days when my writing feels awkward, silly or inadequate for what I want to express or when the words won’t come at all, I turn to my bookshelves for inspiration, encouragement and sometimes even consolation.

Unfortunately, for varied reasons, most of my books have been packed away and put into storage for what is turning out to be longer than I’d anticipated. Though new books are slowly creeping into the house from a variety of sources,  my old reliable references are out of immediate reach.

The internet comes to the rescue though with a simple Google search of “writers on writing.”  It pulled up the archive of the “Writers on Writing” columns published by the New York Times. Here’s the link: Writers On Writing

I read many of the columns, but the one that really struck a chord with me was written by the late Susan Sontag. In it she talks about the writing, rewriting, and rewriting process.  It is always encouraging to read or hear about other writers struggling with the same issues I’m dealing with.  The article is a confirmation that stories don’t miraculously spring fully-formed and perfect from the writer’s forehead and leap onto the page.

It helps to remember that most everything that reaches the reading audience has been written and rewritten numerous times, then changed by editorial suggestions and rewritten again.

Find Sontag’s article here: Directions: Write, Read, Rewrite. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as Needed

Ah, but the “as needed” portion trips me up as well, but my obsession with near-endless rewrites and why it took me three years to finally finish one 8,000-word story will have to wait for another time.


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