Readers have been asking for writing advice, so today I have a guest posting from the amazing Jake Kerr. I’ll put links at the end to his new book on revising. I just finished it, and it’s fantastic. Take it away, Jake…
One afternoon twenty years ago I was driving through Los Angeles listening to the late George Carlin being interviewed on a radio station. The interviewer mentioned Carlin’s amazing ability to observe the humor and life and asked him how he turned that into his routines. Carlin said that it was a process that took months. He described it as taking a hunk of stone and buffing and shining it into a diamond.
The interviewer asked: “So it’s not so much inspiration, it’s hard work?” Carlin proceeded to talk about how important revision was to him. He tried and failed and revised and failed and honed his stories into the amazing performances we saw when he was on stage. To Carlin, the difference between failure and greatness was revision.
This interview has stayed with me my whole life. It has allowed me to look at incomplete, poorly written, or mediocre stories and know that they are not the final product. I can revise them and then revise them again in a process that is wonderful in how it slowly reveals a thing of beauty.
I don’t know if it’s due to George Carlin or my personality, but I’ve always loved revision. The process Carlin described as turning into a diamond has always appealed to me.
Micah here again. Here’s Jake’s book: After the First Draft: Secrets of Revision
It includes an insider’s look into the revision process unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. Grab your copy today.