by Patricia Cates
Have you ever written something you thought was absolutely brilliant, and then gone back and revisited it later and said, "What was I thinking?"
Man, oh, man. I sure have!
While continuing my organization of things I stumbled across a poem I wrote in 2011. At the time I was in full flow mode and writing with abandon. I wrote a poem for my husband-to-be, and felt it "to be" the absolute most romantic thing ever scribed. I even framed a copy for him and displayed it at our reception. So, when I found it recently I was uber excited. I couldn't wait to re-read the words on those two pages. My finest work for sure. Except...it's utterly awful! Super bad. What was I thinking? It may have been the first and only draft, but honestly it sounds like a 12 year old wrote it. My tenses are off in parts and it really needs revision. I am so embarrassed. I am thinking I will rewrite it. If not for him, for me!
Who else has done this?
I think that's why some great writing coaches have told us to "let it rest." But does a rest mean four hours, four days, four months or four years? It's difficult to gauge. It might depend on how unbiased we can be towards our own work. Can we be unbiased after a few hours? Certainly after four years. Confession---I often publish on this very blog a complete first draft, because I am in a hurry. The great thing about that is that we can always update! On paper...not so much.
So my challenge today is to say "YES" to the rewrite. Find something old and pull it out and see if it needs a little polishing...or a lot. Could something so-so become great? I think so. If it's something your heart is attracted to, then maybe that will spark some much needed interest and passion. Perhaps some new ideas will even begin to flow along with it as well. You never know until you try.