Writing Sample – Vile Revision

Vile Revision

Revision is the bane of all writing. Throughout high school and through my college education I have found that revision is easily one of the hardest and most unenjoyable aspects of writing. Revision is essential, I do understand that, but I don’t like having to revisit many of my pieces because a lot are done “in the moment.” One fear that I have had with revision (though my Linfield Professor’s have definitely hammered on me that my belief is false) is that I will lose the essence of what I wrote while in that particular moment. I understand the need for revision in an academic setting. I understand it as well, to an extent, in creative writing, especially in the form of prose, scripts, etc. I do find, and have found, that when I look back at a piece that I wrote years ago I become nit-picky about everything on the page. I want to change so much of my writing and the techniques I used before that the piece becomes more of “who I am now,” rather than “who I was then.”

One problem that I have had since before coming to Linfield was the lack of a solid foundation of writers and editors that are friends of mine. Most people that I have shown my work to will often say, “Oh, great job. Way to go” and that doesn’t help me out. I have refused to show any of my work to my family or friends because they don’t have the “critical eye” that I have been looking for. I wouldn’t mind if a person, metaphorically, “tore me a new one” because I know that I can take the criticism. I want to better myself as a writer, but people being overly positive of my work doesn’t help me. I have sit in writing classes in high school and community college and have gone through entire workshops not knowing what I should change because people didn’t want to step on toes, and although I understand that one’s writing can be extremely personal and close to the heart, it isn’t all too helpful in the long run just to hear positives. One of my biggest problems as far as writing comes with staying in the correct tense. Sometimes I bounce from a certain tense, not purposefully, and I would get docked for going from past to present, etc. and they would advise me to read over a paper in order to spot the problems, but sometimes the slips are so few and far between that I don’t even trip over them. This is why I know that careful editing and revision is important.

In the classes that I have taken in community college I found that whether it was a creative writing class or not, my first draft was always my only draft. Professor Wilkins, in the English department, would often quote Ernest Hemingway, “The first draft of anything is shit.” My thoughts, and response one particular day was, “Well, that’s only if you’re not a good writer.” I have worked on revising more of my papers though, especially my prose, because I know that it is an essential act that all writers must slog through. Much like puberty and the awkwardness that comes with it, revision is just something that people have to go through.

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