Revolutionary Revision


All the writing for his book was on one flash drive.

Bending to the tyranny of fear that harm might come to the computer – a theft, a lightning strike – Bob only wrote on the flash drive, placing it in different spots throughout the house to further protect his work.  Eventually, he couldn’t find it.  His exhaustive searches dwindled before he struggled toward acceptance.

“I know what I said about just sitting down and starting over, but how is it even possible to rewrite something that you wrote from your heart and soul? All I am doing now is listing facts on this chapter I’d almost finished. I came across a few handwritten notes and sketchy opening pages, but I just can’t seem to put meat on these scattered bones.”  The smoke of dismay clouded the light in the room.  “Right now, I am not a happy camper.”

Like the colonists who fought for the right to build a free country for its citizens, one that’s been adapting for 237 years, writers constantly carry on a process of creating and recreating.  Revision IS writing, and when we have something, anything, on paper, we have a place to start.  However, Bob, with no draft to revise, had a choice to survey scattered notes, comb his memory and reexamine his thoughts to spark a creative revolution.

So many things can happen to stymie a writer’s progress.  Losing your work is a harsh one, yes, but it is possible to completely rewrite a lost piece from scratch.  Make peace with the fact that the writing is gone.  Feel the sadness, then replace it with gratitude that you still know the story and have the ability to write it again.  Celebrate your right to creative independence as you prepare to represent your story anew.

Even if all you can get down are the bones, these basics are a start at structure to hang specifics on.  Question what you have to find details to fill in the framework, and continue writing.

If you have a draft with notes, yet aren’t a happy camper, pitch your tent somewhere else.  Switch gears to another chapter, or work on a completely different story.  Let the frustrating one rest, and seek a different view.  Maybe a new campsite will have more sun and warmer inspiration.

Sometimes you realize a draft isn’t going anywhere.  Working within it becomes more of a struggle than simply starting fresh on a clean page.  Be grateful the unusable draft did its work by clearing your mind.  Go with your gut. Move on, and begin again.

Revere your process, and volunteer to re-enlist in your project.  A setback doesn’t mean the cause isn’t winnable.  Adaptability is a creative act.  Stand up to your issues, then express your freedom to write.

Disclaimer: It’s true; writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.


  1. Valerie Hudgins on July 1, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    “Revere your process, and volunteer to re-enlist in your project.”

    ;-)Subtle. Clever. Happy Fourth to you, Darlin’!

    • Wayne on July 1, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Thanks, Val, for being one of the first to comment on my subtlety. That’s rare! Enjoy the fireworks! See ya soon! Wayne

  2. Sheryl Parbhoo on July 1, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Thanks for this post!
    “Even if all you can get down are the bones, these basics are a start at structure to hang specifics on.” Wonderful advice.

    Happy Fourth!

    • Wayne on July 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Thanks, Sheryl! I look forward to reading your latest. . .soon! Happy Fourth to you, too!

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