Writing to me has been cathartic, throughout my entire life. There has never been a time when I wasn’t writing.
I would write a poem, short story, or similar, and then hide it away from the world because I was afraid of people seeing who I really am.
Or I would let my friends see my writing, but of course, their biased opinions never helped me grow.
As I got older, I realized that writing is more than therapy for me, I enjoyed it for the artistic process, and I loved entertaining people in my own way.
As such, a revision was never part of my process before. It never occurred to me that what I wrote should be polished, fine-tuned like a piano, to be something better than what I puked on the page.
One of my fears when I first started this program last year was that I wouldn’t be able to take constructive criticism.
But as I sat and critiqued others in workshops, and had them critique me, I realized that the only way I could be the best writer I am capable of being is to be open to it all.
What’s great about our workshops is that sometimes you’ll get feedback from someone about a plot point or characterization, and you think to yourself, “that’s ridiculous. It’s right there on the page!”
Those, I tend to acknowledge politely, but never incorporate it because I don’t want anyone to be prescriptive to my work.
That’s why I never pursued journalism.
Everything I ever submitted for the school paper was changed in such a way that it didn’t sound like me anymore. I wanted full control of whatever my name was slapped on.
I saw that creative writing would be the best way to do that, and still allow my demons to be expelled from my brain.
I think the most difficult thing about revision is finding the time to do it. When I get my critiques back from a workshop, I put it aside in the closet.
I don’t even want to see it right away. I like to let the verbal and written criticisms percolate for as long as possible.
When I do block the time to revise, it’s because I’ve stepped away from it long enough to see it with brand new eyes, or I shared it with someone who gave me excellent criticism that I’m eager to incorporate into the work while keeping my voice.
Can you consume creative writing in 10 minutes or less?
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