How I Write #5: The Re-Writing

(This column is posted at,, and Steve’s Tumblr)

And let’s get back to How I Write with me, Steve.  Who Writes.  This.  And books.  But also this post.  Er.  Anyway, you get the idea.

So to recap I’ve covered how I write up to the point of actually writing.  It was basically:

  • I get ideas (and keep track of them)
  • I pick ideas to write (based on my plans)
  • I outline a book (at times to the paragraph level)
  • I write (by pretty much spewing writing into said outline until something booklike emerges)

By the time this is done I have a well-outlined book that is written by a mixture of gut, heart, imagination, and desperation.  The outline provided guidance so the book “works” – in that it reaches a goal – but the results are often less than stellar.

In short, my first draft is usually very first and much draft.  It’s often done with surprising speed, but it’s really not that great.  That means my next step is re-writing.

I hesitate to call this editing since my re-writing is not that subtle an exercise.  Sure, I often have content thats in better shape than it sounds when I call it “word vomit”  – but at best it’s not polished, and at worst parts of the content only worked in my head.  So it’s time to go through and re-write it because sometimes it changes massively.

Which isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Usually.

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