by Kathy McKinsey
I often still feel like a new writer. I wrote and had stories and poems published as a teenager, but I took a thirty year break for another life before I took up writing again in my fifties. I feel like I still have so much to learn.
One of the things I fought against as a teen was rewriting. I was sure my stories were good enough after one sitting. In my new life as an older author, I’ve discovered the joy of working through a story multiple times.
I am an editor as well as a writer, and it’s taken me a long time to not allow myself to stop and fix errors the first time I’m going through a chapter. Now, I find myself relieved to know I’ll be able to expand and work kinks out as I redo and redo and redo. I even smile as I think of how much fun I can have fleshing a scene out.
I’ve come to realize that God will help me make it better in future run-throughs. I believe that even if I’m not sure how to handle a situation in the story right now, God will help me figure it out as I go along. He is giving me the confidence that He’s gifted me with the skills to be able to do this craft, this art of writing.
Terri Blackstock said some advice that helped her was “Don’t do it right. Get it written.” In my latest story, I’ve found this to be a real blessing for me. I’m finally able to get the story down without worrying about everything being perfect the first time. Or the fifth time.
Then I can go back, and as Terri also said, rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
I know now what my teenage self did not realize. Clearer thinking, new gems in the story, a broadening of ideas are just some of the advantages of rewriting.