Writing always brings me to process writing; today is no different. Today, I took all day to finally begin revisions to an essay for publication. It's been accepted to a journal and I'm working on revisions from the editor. They are sharp suggestions, ones that are inspiring me to reshape the whole introduction (oh, and probably more). I feel like I know where I'm going, but I'm struck tonight about how perfectly LONG I feel like it's going to take me to get there.
Today I'm shocked by the extent you can reshape a piece of writing.
How did I ever think this piece was "there"?
This is all bold evidence for the idea of the writing process!
I am not a writer with much patience. I always want to write fast; I want to write so fast and without thinking much about it, so fast that I can't even realize that I'm writing. If I slow down, if I think about it too much, that achy, deep resistance takes over, that sharp doubt that every writer knows. When that feeling of almost done creeps upon me, my eyes no longer stick to the words on the page. I reach capacity. I decide I'm done.
Tonight though, deep in the throes of deep revision, I found myself waiting a lot--sensing the defined feeling of what the paragraph should do, but just having to wait for a long time for how to articulate. This was a strange feeling for me. It was so slow. Such a different feeling from the rhythm I normally take in generating drafts (frantically, fueled by caffeine and blaring pop music). Slow writing requires that I sit in what I've written, not flee from it. And slow writing probably won't respond to my emphatic deadlines highlighted in my planner. It will take whatever time it needs.
Dr. Hannah J. Rule
Hannah J. Rule, Ph.D | University of South Carolina
Department of English Language and Literature | 1620 College Street | Columbia, SC 29208