I’ve been revising my prospectus draft over that past 2 weeks or so. I’ve come to realize that revising for me is very SLOW. Here are some thoughts about my own revision process.
1. I’m constantly distracted when I’m revising. I usually have email and Facebook open and minimized when I am writing. When things get hard or I get distracted, I’m easily drawn away. Sometimes I feel like this is necessary – the mind needs a break. Other times I know I’m being unproductive. But it’s hard to sit there and just WRITE for hours without a break.
2. I do a lot of what Rebecca Moore Howard would call “patch-writing.” When I can’t think of how to analyze or incorporate a quotation, I often cut and paste it into my draft and the mess around with it. I re-read authors’ exact words. I go back to my own words and revise.
3. I don’t know how I’d revise without cut and paste. I cut so much and paste it into a “discard” document. I cut and rearrange constantly. How did people do this when they had to do it manually? I seem to remember using the asterisk system in years past – writing, by hand, an asterisk to add in or rearrange parts of sentences.
4. Re-reading becomes procrastination. I know I’m putting off the hard work of revision when I’m reading my intro yet again and tweaking words, probably for about the 5th time.
5. Sometimes a paragraph or a passage just clicks in, so to speak, and it sounds great. It’s really hard for me to revise these “clicked in” passages because they are so fluid and make so much sense to me. It’s hard to add or change what’s there sometimes.
6. Revising is tiring! After so many hours, my brain turns off. I don’t know if I can really do a full 8 hour day of straight up revising.
7. What I do know is that when I took the Amtrak train to Chicago a few weeks ago, I had probably one of the most productive revision sessions ever. And I didn’t have internet access. I was forced to just sit there and go go go for 4 hours straight. So maybe that’s a strategy I’ll try to tomorrow – no email, no posting, no distractions, at least from the Web.
Speaking of distractions, back to the draft I go.
Defense is in 10 days!