When I show up at the page, I don’t always know why I am there. Sometimes I ask. Most of the time, I cycle through the top load of junk and find something to take me through a couple of pages. Actually, most of the time, it is that top load of junk that takes me through a couple of pages.
But I show up. And I think that’s enough.
Right now, I’m practicing revision. I like that word “practicing” in front, because I’m learning to return to a piece and work with it. For years I’d finish a crappy short fiction piece and think it was actually kinda good. Then I’d go back, expecting to dust-up extra commas and swap out a few words. Instead, I’d reread the piece and close the file because it was complete crap and I didn’t know where to begin.
Now I am coming to revision work with the same intentionality I have when I show up at the page: I open a file, take a breath, and begin. If I have comments to work from, I have those up too. Most of the time I revise at home, during the kids’ quiet time. Those slots of time are usually short so I like to take revision writing dates out, packing my laptop and heading to a coffee shop. On Sunday I met a poet friend who was also revising old work. And today I worked alone. Both days I put in a couple of hours on a piece I’ve let sit for nearly three years.
And if being intentional about revision happens to come with a triple shot mocha, all the better.