Thursday, July 03, 2014


"The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser - in case you thought optimism is dead." - Robert Brault

A rectangular eraser lies on my desk next to the lamp. It supplements the tiny eraser on the end of my mechanical pencil which would quickly run out if I used it exclusively.

Next to the lamp sits a pen and pencil holder. In it live roller ball pens of several colors. My favorites are the hot pink ones. I use those to mark up the print-outs of the scenes of whatever book I'm currently revising. I go through almost as many of those as I do blue or black pens.

While I appreciate the optimism of Brault's quotation, it doesn't reflect my reality. If I designed a pencil to accurately show the amount of time I spend on revision versus writing, the eraser would be two feet long and the pencil less than half an inch. This pains me since I thoroughly enjoy that flying blind bliss of the first draft. Sometimes I find that same pleasure in second or third drafts. But once I'm down to the deep cuts writing requires, it's all work.

I know others with the opposite perspective. For some, the initial draft is the hardest part and once they have "something to work with" they're golden. My hat is off to them. Still, I would wager even these people spend much more time rewriting than they did on the initial draft.

What about you? Do you spend more of your writing hours in drafting or revising? I'd love to hear about your process.