Quotes for writers : rewrites aren’t insane (they just feel that way)

Dearest Odyssians,


“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Einstein.
“… Unless you’re a writer. Then it’s a necessary part of the job.” – odie.

Keep plugging away Odyssians. The time you spend on editing and rewrites until you’re satisfied* with your work is worth it. The results will be different,  and they will be better.

O and om 🐱

*There also comes a point when you must be willing to submit your work,  knowing it will never be perfect. That point is when you are reasonably satisfied with what you’ve done. You know in your heart you’ve given your best effort into editing your work. Beware of the over edit….

25 thoughts on “Quotes for writers : rewrites aren’t insane (they just feel that way)

  1. We’re back to the Middle Road… in all things… :)

    I’m getting better at editing… More forgiving… I no longer read the first few lines, toss it all into the trash, then grab a fresh, clean sheet of paper and try to make it all better from scratch. That’s progress…

    You are succeeding, by the way, in making me curious about your project. I thought I’d share that. In case it helps in any way…

    Cheering you on–

    • HI Michael-

      I am so glad that you are not throwing your hard fought gains (written words) in the trash anymore!! I’ve had to tell myself this: Save everything. Hide it away where you won’t be tempted to toss it. Go back in a few weeks and see what gems you love, and what you might want to do different next time. And then put it back in it’s safe place and keep it. Sometimes it’s great to see what we were working on last year in order to notice how much our writing has improved, and how much we’ve grown in our art. Does this resonate with you?

      The hardest part of writing (and from your comments and beautifully written work, I consider my advice/words preaching to the choir) is getting down 250 good words for the day – that can take 4/8 hours of blood, sweat, and Coca-cola, and lots of tears.

      Sure, sure. We’ve all heard of those writers that can churn out 1500/2o00 everyday, rain or shine. Most of us aren’t like that – including the most respected, genius writers we all look up to. I just read a quote by Nabakov where he said he rewrote every word several times before it ended up on the final page.

      That’s me alright. And maybe that’s you as well? And that’s ok! It just means full length works take longer than six months. As long as we are working on our craft, (and not throwing away the results) we are doing what needs to be done.

      Thank you for your interest in the book. I’m considering sharing a short plot teaser, like what you might find on the back of a book cover. But I don’t want to say too much about the project before I have confirmed representation and can ask my agent what I might be able to share with my beloved blog family.

      Til then, I must keep my debut shrouded in mystery. In the meanwhile I might go online and see what debut authors shared before they were picked up by an agent. Which is my next big big goal. Fingers crossed….

      o and om.

      • Hello O and Om,

        I read and very much enjoyed the discussion of your project, and I think you have a great plot/story line to work with… the idea that those things that drive us to the edge, once set out from ourselves to cool, by being written down, that we might take a look at them and see them for what they are, is awesome! And to see that what we thought was true of our urgency wasn’t quite so, and then to be left with living through the situations brought on by our original nightmares… It sounds fascinating to be honest. I can’t wait to hear how your next steps go… And as Dewin noted on this link you’ve sent us, your enthusiasm for the work is contagious. I know how you feel…

        I’ve perhaps, through ignorance, violated a particular law of publishing by sharing an excerpt from the middle of my in-progress novel, but we’ll see how it all goes. I’m not sure I have anything commercially viable or not anyway. I’ve been scraping away at this larger project for about two years off and on, and the major achievement for me is the act of completing it and not giving up. Now I’m faced with the task of cleaning it up and actually wondering how to give it the very best shot possible at finding a few readers.

        Like the experience you shared, my own writing of this piece began as a short sketch, and then I felt the premise was big enough to be a larger story, and at some point I just decided I would keep going until I had a novel length work. Just to shatter that glass. I was surprised at what emerged in the process. I work full time in a pretty busy engineering job, and so the bulk of the writing occurred over the first twelve or so months when I was trying to crank out about 5,000 words per weekend. I hit that once or twice, but generally probably hit around 2,500 – 3,000, and couldn’t really work every weekend. And most days a few hundred words, as you say, can feel very hard won. And lots of rework of course followed…

        So now I have a draft I”ve begun trying to strengthen. I have no idea what I have, if anything. But it’s fun to talk and dream about!

        Thank you for this dialogue, which I’m also enjoying very much.

      • Just a quick reply as I’m up early today..
        Can you put a link to your book excerpt here??since It’s already been shared, I’d love to read it. I’m probably wrong in my ironclad notion that publishers won’t work with a book that has favorable feedback online. After all, fifty shades of grey started as fan fiction attached to the bottom of a twilight blog!! And look how well that book done.
        El James is worth 40 mill now :)
        Maybe feedback would be helpful for you ☺

        O and om.

      • Hi O and Om, Here is a link to the “Fiction” page on my site, which has a few short stories I’ve written during the same time period, as well as the excerpt mentioned above… I would love your feedback… and if any comes forth, am grateful in advance.

        I’m trying this shortlink thing. Haven’t used it before and just realized what it was. If it doesn’t work, you can go to my blog and click the Fiction page, then scroll down to the novel excerpt…



      • Dearest M.
        Thank you for letting me read this and allowing me to give you feedback.
        Looks like your shortlink worked, btw. I usually have trouble with the innards of WP as well. Their app and site has some snafus.
        o and om.

      • Hi m,
        I’m focusing on your story, Bethlehem s goggles. I wasn’t aware you had so much shared work, so I chose this story because the intro stood out to me.
        I have a lot of feedback to give. I’ll post here after I read your story a second time.
        Needless to say, you’re a fantastic writer. I believe with some strong edits, your story would be ready to submit to magazines, etc. For publication.

      • O and Om, that’s the excerpt from the draft novel, so you instinctively honed in on the right one… Although, they’re all there for the taking… I need to learn to respond to the phrase “strong edits” with a conflagration of enthusiasm. I’m practicing right now… Thank you so much for taking the time, O and Om…

      • Yeah. I understand your trepidations. But I promise my opinion is just one of many and is wholly constructive. Not destructive
        A. I don’t think it’s a problem publishing it as a standalone story. Any chapter that is a complete short story by itself us successful.
        B. You’ve succeeded in writing a chapter that does that. Congrats!

        C. I was going to ask your permission again before I made my suggestions. But here they are..

        They essentially involve the following :
        1. Cutting down the ” telling and not showing” in the beginning of your story . By Pulling together the early portions of dialogue between the two characters, while removing the main character’s expositions, your beginning gets punchier, and more mysterious. I feel the dialogue between them is powerful enough on it’s own, without explanation. Their convo entices readers and keeps them reading as written. Including Mystery, and making readers ask questions, is imperative to roping them in for the remainder of the story – both, also allow readers to start forming their own opinions about the characters from the beginning, to incorporate them as their own. As writers, we can lead them to ideas, but we must not hammer in precise thoughts.. Until later. Exposition tends to do that.
        BTW, Your main characters Exposition was so esoteric and advanced, I found it confusing. By removing it, readers will be allowed to absorb the critical ideas if your allegory better.

        2. Also, Using less flowering language at the very beginning /opening will emphasize the action of the man climbing the wall. This will help draw your readers into what the story develops into – Grand ideals adept Ly delivered through powerfully, beautiful allegory.

        Your piece to me is an allegorical tale Masterfully woven, and effortless to read. Delightful in the emotion it evokes. This to me is how allegory should be. And often fails to be. So many congrats on being successful in this difficult genre.

        3. I would also advise removing the few sentences scattered throughout the story that to me jutted out like jagged rocks. Without giving direct examples, They tend to be closing, stand alone sentences that you’ve included as a rebuttal to the larger story – Character afterthoughts or counterthoughts if you would. I feel they tend to take away from the effortless flow and spiritual feel of the greater work. And aren’t needed.

        Where your story really picks up is around page nine ten eleven. It becomes more fluid and at the same time more concrete in its beautiful, seamless, mystical style that evokes a feeling of being in another dimension, looking up and seeing the stars without interference. Seeing all the beauty of the world for the first time. Think jodie foster in the movie contact when she’s on the other world beach that God provided for her. I like the parts before as well.

        4. My last advice would be to remove a few, not all, of the metaphors introduced with the words, “like a”. They are wonderful descriptions, however used to often, “like a” becomes a pitfall readers no longer look forward to coming across. Even using a different set of words in place of, “like a” will achieve your goal.

        This is my review for the first half. Again, just my opinion. And hopefully comes across as suggestions for what I see has tremendous potential!!!

        Thoughts? If you don’t hate what I’ve written I will do a second half review for you. ☺ I can also give more specific examples of what I mean, if you’d like. Let me know.

        O and om.

      • Thank you so much, O. The way WP is set up I’m reduced to trying to respond in this tiny comment window, which holds no more than three or four rows at a time it seems, but let me give this a whirl.

        First, much gratitude for your taking this time. I feel the constructive support in your thoughts here, and it is much appreciated.

        I think that all your points are well-taken, and I would love to speak with you about specifics; however, perhaps off-line where we can actually circle or highlight passages and also not bore your readers. Also, circling passages starts to sound like real work, and I’m not asking for any time you are unwilling to give… I just thought it might actually be easier to work with files you can directly edit and notate…

        But either way, I am interested in the specifics because I think it would be helpful to me.

        My reactions are as follows:

        Point 1: show don’t tell… I think this is valid feedback for anything I’ve ever written in my entire life… I do see opportunity to strengthen the narrative by spending more time on this. I find it hard at times because so much of what I’m trying to convey is about the inner life, but as I write it I say to myself, what story-teller isn’t trying to do that…? I think it would be helpful to know which passages were clunky, and also I do think having read the previous ten chapters would have made some of the material in the first 8 or so pages of this chapter more coherent… I can only hope! But I don’t say that to stray from your point.

        Point 2: Agreed. I re-read the first ten paragraphs removing words as I went, and think it sounded more effective… I think this is what you are getting at…

        Point 3: This one is interesting. Another writing friend once told me that the short sentences I sometimes interjected were great and very poignant within what is often a series of larger/longer sentences. I think it’s probably all in how it’s done…

        Point 4: Definitely agree. You might be appalled to hear this, but they’d probably been cut by thirty percent in the draft you saw! Ha!

        So… keep it out of the circular file… Keep working hard on it… That’s my take away here…

        Thank you, my friend… <3

  2. Me too – curious. I didn’t know if you have told people, and I just haven’t been following long enough, or if you just aren’t sayin’. Whatever it is and whenever it is ready, I am excited to see!! Blessings in the editing and the knowing of when it is done.

    • HI MM-
      I haven’t told much about the book because I wasn’t sure how much could be shared online before I was represented by an agent. The book itself doesn’t contain anything that would need to be kept secret. I don’t believe the plot elements are controversial. However, from what I’ve read, I shouldn’t share excerpts, etc… in a blog format if I would like it to be published traditionally… and I do.

      I can say that the story starts out being about a woman in her thirties finding a reason to live again by writing down all the reasons she shouldn’t want to live, and then changes to something completely different as she finds that she wants to live, but she’s put herself in scenarios that could kill her. She’s gambled her life for her freedom. Will she make it out alive? Or has she risked too much?

      I hope to be able to share more soon.

      Thank you for your support on this project. And I am glad that I’ve awakened your interest in this novel.

      o and om

  3. Hi m.
    Glad you weren’t put off by my advised edits. And your advice to go offline isn’t a bad idea.
    What I could so is directly edit the pdf of goggles, them email to you.
    Granted this will take awhile as I’m working on the last few chaptets of my own book. Trust me when I say those last five I have to do are rough going. I’ve started but.. Looks like it’ll take a few more days. Then I have agent letters to write. Each one must be tailored. Or else it’s straight to the slush pile.
    If me notations the pdf sounds like something you’d want great.
    I think getting goggles published as a stand alone in a magazine online, or on paper, is feasible. And would help in other ways:
    Popular shorts have gone on to sell the whole book they came from, or garnered agent interest for the writers, or both. Not bad, eh??

    Give me some weeks though :)
    Hugs,. O and om. ♡

    • Will do, O. Thank you again and I’m in no rush so focus on your own works first! I’ll send you the Word file, too, in case that is any easier for you. I’m intrigued by your thoughts on publication of the single chapter– not having imagined such a possibility. I’m not sure what outlets you’re describing, but will do some plunking around… You are a gift, O!


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