revision advice from Jami Attenberg

A friend messaged me, asking for advice on switching from writing the first draft to revision mode. It’s a different pace, he explained, after the speed and discovery of the first draft.

I said:

"Save it as a new document called ‘final’ or ‘finished’ or something like that. Create a folder called ‘old’ and put all other versions in that folder.  This is a subtle tweak to your mindset but it works. Set a page count of edits you want to reach every day, say 25, and make sure you hit it. Work in a new physical space, a different cafe or something. It’s the breaking of first draft rituals and creating of new ones kind of thing.

Also I might change who I am writing for in this version. I feel like every draft is a letter to someone. Say the first draft is a letter to yourself, and the second draft is the letter to your intended reader, and the third draft is for your editor. (Obviously this doesn’t have to be your order.) It’s just helpful for shifting things a little bit, giving your new draft a different spin.”

More here.

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