Write or Rewrite?

Here’s what I think. Plain and simple. It’s a LOT more fun to write than to rewrite. In the case of writing, it’s the creative surge within—and as it flows out—onto the paper that makes it so enjoyable.

One moment the page is blank. Within a few minutes, the page is half-filled.

One moment, it is a small spark in the brain. The next, it is a living, breathing, growing organism.

A thought begets another thought. And that thought multiplies into a grouping of thoughts that are just begging to be a story. And that story is NOT GOING TO WAIT!

The ideas are coming so fast that there’s no time to check for grammar, spelling, or errors of any kind. They spill out and if they aren’t acknowledged right away, they fade, sneak, or even run away. It’s hard to recoup them. Often, it’s not possible.

So, like many of you, I have carry a pad of paper in my purse and a notebook in my car. If an idea comes into my head, I pull over and scribble it down. If I’m in a restaurant, a napkin may have to suffice. In the doctor’s office, I once wrote down an idea on the paper liner from the exam table. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So what happens when you are in the middle of writing and someone calls you to say, partake of luscious ribs from the grill?

That’s what just happened to me. Seriously. In the middle of writing this blog, my husband announced that the ribs were ready a good hour earlier than I had expected.

Now, I couldn’t disappoint the chef (or my stomach) so I closed down my writing program and graced my husband with my presence at the table. The ribs were great and I wasn’t sorry I let them interrupt my writing, but now I am back in front of the computer and I’m stalling…

Why? Because I’ve lost my momentum, my train of thought. I’ve forgotten where I was headed with all of this. Things aren’t quite gelling the way I had hoped. Scratch that. The way I had planned.

So, what should I do? Sit here and wait for inspiration? Pray for instant recall?

I’m gonna give this what I call the “Fifteen Minute Rule.”  This means that if, within the space of fifteen minutes, nothing earth shaking or mind blowing has taken place, I’m shutting it down. That’s right. I’m powering off.

Why? Because it is much more fun to write. Not so much fun to rewrite. (Editing, well that’s just a necessary evil. But that’s not what I’m writing about.) It’s not as exciting when you’ve lost that edge, that quirky way of expressing something ordinary in a new and different way that makes us all sit up and take notice and say: “Wow! That’s sure a new twist” or “Hum, I never thought about it that way before.”

So, go ahead and have a plate of delicious ribs, if you want to. But, as for me, I think I’ll pass—next time.


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