Revision Rituals

Hey! So with portfolio time coming up, I have to ask about revisions. Everyone’s got some way they prefer to revise, whether it is all semester or a frantic night before. For some unfortunate reason, I’m most productive between 2 and 4 in the morning, and that’s usually when I revise when not under a time crunch. Otherwise, I spend a few days revising while ignoring other work. I usually look at all my workshop comments and letters before uploading the document on my computer, then spread them around me in a circle so I can pick at them when I need specifics on certain points. I’ve taken to having the original in a window next to the new version, so I can see what has and hasn’t changed. I’m sure everyone does this, but until recently I just copied the original into a fresh document and went from there.

What about you guys?

Also, here is two revision exercises I’ve got over the year:

Print out a copy of your poem and literally cut it apart. Take out anything that isn’t working, rearrange, go nuts.

Cut your poem in half, and make it into two different poems- write a new end for the beginning, a new beginning for the end.

One Reply to “Revision Rituals”

  1. Rachel,
    I do something similar. I pull up the original draft, then copy it into a new file, often adding “revision #whatever,” and then use workshop comments to either tweak an already successful poem or obliterate a poem that I feel wasn’t really working. I tend to revise really late at night, when it’s quiet, and I spend hours on one poem, then moving to the next after grabbing something to eat. I can’t revise around others, and I spend a lot of time lighting various candles and fudging around with the music I’m playing. Overall, it’s a pretty shitty ritual, and takes way too long, but I think it’s served me decently well.

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