Recipe for Robust Revision

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As a person new to grilling, I recalled a truth that once meat is cooked, it remains more flavorful if it rests before cutting and serving. This allows the juices which escaped to the middle while over the flames to reestablish themselves throughout, bringing moisture to every bit. If you cut into it while the meat is too hot, much of this valuable flavor will dribble out. So toss the salad, refresh beverages, and give a word of thanks as you inhale the aroma before taking the first bite.

grilling meatThe same is true for your writing. Like resting the roast, rest your draft before revising. And while it cools down, rest yourself. Taking a break from the piece is vital before revision to clear your perceptions and come back fresh. 24 hours will do, but I like 48. If under a tight deadline, change your perspective through working on something else, having lunch, reading a bit, or getting away from your writing desk by exercising, meditating or talking to a friend.

Return to your writing with a renewed appetite to genuinely experience its flavor. As you savor, you can easily notice what parts are juicy and which ones need an infusion of creative essence. Consider taking steps with revision beginning with a perusal of the work as a whole, making broad directives in the margin like “edit down,” “choose one,” “divide sentences,” “awkward,” and a personal favorite, “?” Don’t cut into it just yet. Examine it before scrutinizing line-by-line, before chewing on it word-by-word.

With grilling, the results rest with the fire and timing. Robust revision involves passion and perseverance with plenty of room for patience.

1 Comment

  1. Sheryl on July 9, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    Wayne, I love this post! And little did I know that there was a good reason I’ve been letting my drafts “rest” for so long. Ooops, it’s been a little over 48 hours, though.

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