Tasteful Butchery Well Done

Different writers seem to favor different parts of the writing process.  For some, it’s the brainstorming of ideas.  For others, it’s getting that first draft down.  A lot of writers, though, seem to shrink from the editing/rewriting part of the process.

As I continue my writing journey, I find myself having the most fun when editing or rewriting.  At that stage, I feel like the initial pressure to produce something is gone and the creative give and take with the manuscript can begin.

When I’m short on writing time, as I have been for the past several months while hubby is laid off, I keep the writing bug alive by reading books and blogs about writing.  In fact, I start each workday by reading through the blogs I follow and hitting a few of the freshly pressed for the day.  Right now, I’m reading Writers on Writing.  It’s a collection of  New York Times essays written by famous writers.  I’ll admit, there’s an awful lot of self-indulgent crap in there, but something I read this morning struck me as brilliant.  Author Paul West had this to say:

“I stay up long enough, usually, to correct what I’ve written, and on occasion to carve it up, then go to bed with that elated shiver of tasteful butchery well done.”

Tasteful butchery well done.  The whole book was worth that one quote.

I can chalk up my struggles with the WIP to stress and being overworked for months; but even in the midst of the turmoil, I’ve managed to give the story some structure.  I love the search for and discovery of ideas, the playful dialogue, and getting the first draft down, even though it’s tough right now.  But the part where I get to sit on my porch with a typed draft in front of me, red pen in hand, and smooth out the rough patches–that’s when I feel most like a writer.

Don’t be afraid of or dread rewriting and editing.  Savor it.  This is where we go beyond being overgrown kids with wild imaginations.  This is where we become writers.

Tasteful butchers, all.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kinginascent
    Apr 25, 2015 @ 13:48:42

    I learn more from the rewriting that applies to the next project so I challenge myself on where I’m weakest.


  2. patrickhawthorne01
    May 01, 2015 @ 21:28:17

    I love the rewrites. Unlike speaking, I get to take back all the garbage I originally wrote, and put it in a much nicer package.


  3. D.R.Sylvester
    May 03, 2015 @ 13:56:15

    That’s a great quote. I do like me some tasteful butchery. Mmmmmm steak…

    I guess I liked the editing a lot more when I had enough fire in my belly to attack it. The butchery gets more satisfying the more hours you can give to it. At the moment I’m lucky to give it ten minutes a day, so all the cleavers are rusty and covered in cow funk. 😦

    I do definitely remember that feeling though… and when something suddenly clicks as you’re going through your day? And you can’t wait to start that edit because you know it’s going to be awesome?



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