So says Ernest Hemingway, who I suspect knew a thing or two about writing. I know nothing of writing, or so I am discovering. Or rather, I know nothing of re-writing. I don’t think I’ve ever really seriously sat down and tried it before.
That’s not to say I’ve never corrected anything I’ve written before. I mean, my dad was a writer. I couldn’t write a two-page book report for my seventh grade English class without my dad marking it up with weird editorial symbols and sending me back down to make revisions on the old Commodore 64. But that was all cosmetic stuff. Spelling punctuation, adjusting the occasional turn of phrase. I never had to dig something out that had been sitting for a while and actually create a new draft that was significantly different — and, more importantly, improved — from the original.
Okay, the truth now. I suspect there was some composition class in high school that covered this. I guarantee that I was not paying attention, and did not do the homework.
Now, however, I find myself wanting to be a real writer. I have a first draft of a short story in my backpack which I carry around almost everywhere I go. I also have the draft of the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo in a pile next to my computer here at home. I think both of them contain ideas that could make great reads, but neither of them are there yet. And if I knew what the next step was, I would surely take it.
I’ll figure it out. I kind of have to, really. It’s either that or spend the rest of my life schlepping. I hate schlepping.
I am reminded of another quote, this one from Gloria Steinem: “I do not like to write. I like to have written.”
That’s me all over.