First off, it has been forever since I’ve added a post here–sorry. I was teaching last semester, on top of working on my MFA and working third shift full time, so a lot of things fell by the wayside. Unfortunately, the blog was one of those things. I’m back, though.
“To pay attention, that is our endless and proper work.”
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I take medication twice a day to stay focused, and generally do quite well, but sometimes I get overwhelmed and wait too long before something is due, and my ADD kicks in full-gear.
This semester, I’m writing an extended critical essay–essentially a research thesis–and was still teaching around the time the first draft was due. I worked on it when I could, but one of the symptoms of my ADD is that when there is a lot to do, I freeze up and do very little. So the ECE got put off until the week before the due date. I’d been working on it–researching and outlining and all that jazz–but hadn’t put in the steady writing and revision time that I like to do. However, I did finish and was able to submit a draft on time.
Then I got feedback on the draft. Much of it was positive, but toward the end of the draft–i.e., where my medication was wearing off!–there were several sentences that made little sense. There was one entire paragraph where even I couldn’t figure out what I was trying to say!
This is why I love revision. If it wasn’t for the revision process, I wouldn’t be able to be a writer. Or, rather, I could write–I will never NOT write–but there’s no way I could publish. Nothing would be readable.
I used to hate my brain. I hated how I would know what I wanted to write inside my brain, but it never translated on the page. I hated how I would hit a good flow, and something would distract me, and I would lose the flow of what I was trying to write. I hated that I came across as scatterbrained and ditzy (well, sometimes, I still do!) But I’m learning. I’m learning that I need to give myself time to complete a writing project, and that I need to forgive my imperfections and shortcomings; otherwise, I’ll never improve. But most of all, I need to allow shitty drafts early on, and ample time for revisions.
I have another week before the next draft is due, and I’ve revised twice already. Here’s hoping this one makes sense!