Living Revision

Revision’s bad reputation is based on stereotypes and misunderstanding. As soon as we pen a thought, we’ve already revised an invisible, intangible wisp inside our head into visible, tangible print. Something changes. Like any creative act, writing creates simultaneously inside and outside the creator. Writing helps us receive what experiences have made of us and make something of these experiences, which is how the Jungian Ann Belford Ulanov describes the source of all aliveness. Revision brings us and our work to life. Isn’t this why we initially fell in love with writing? Writing moved us and what we wrote moved others. Writing revised our world.

When we segregate revision from idea generation or journal writing or drafting—when we assume revision is for the professionals, and especially when we imagine revision to be devoid of exploration and surprise—we do a disservice to the creative process. Revision—reseeing—begins when we pen our first thought and continues through the drafting and development of a work, into and beyond publication. Revision is the dynamic, relational work of creating and being created. Isn’t this also the work of love?

 – by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew