Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Writing From Vision to Revision

You are a writer. Note_notes_notepad_260973_l

Because, a writer writes.  That's the definition of a writer: someone who writes. 

A writer is also someone who understands a couple of things:

1.  Why she writes

2.  The writing process

And, furthermore, a writer should also understand that topics to be used in the writing process can be inspired by asking yourself why you write and by grasping what you want to write about.  That's the vision part.  And after you've gotten that down, you go into revision.

That was the gist of a lecture by my colleague and friend Terry Price at the Writer's Loft last weekend.

Terry started his lecture by asking us to name some of the reasons we write.  Responses included:

  • to share experiences
  • help others
  • know yourself
  • express emotion
  • sheer joy
  • exploration
  • healing
  • processing

And so on.  I'm going to steal me some of these reasons next time someone asks me why I write.   I always have a tough time answering that question, and the best I can usually come up with is that I write because I have to.  Because not writing is not an option.  I know because I've tried it.  Repeatedly.

But anyway, Terry then led us through a series of questions about what we want to write, as in genre, and what topics we want to write about.  He had a bunch of great questions (my favorite: What is the best day of your life so far?) that we were to write quick answers to.  Like, really quick.  A few seconds quick.

From there we chose 3 to 5 answers that resonated with us and wrote a first draft of the beginning of a story.  The Loft students really resonated with this and it seemed to produce some work with potential.  And then the next step was to rewrite this piece, after a bit of discussion of revision.

(If I may interject here, and I may, I did a lecture years ago about Rewriting vs Revision, my point being that rewriting has to do with the big stuff–character, plot, theme, etc., whereas revision has to do with more detailed things such as word choice, sentence structure, diction and grammar.)

So anyway, it was a cool lecture.  And you could take one of his questions, answer it, and use it for the beginning of either a fiction or non-fiction (memoir) piece.   Take my favorite question, listed above and play with it:  what is the best day of your life so far?

And then report back and let us know what happened.  Also, feel free to share why you write.  If you know.

*I wrote about my friend Linda's lecture on conflict yesterday.  You can read it here.


Photo by christg.

0 thoughts on “Writing From Vision to Revision

  1. J.D.

    Charlotte, I love the way you make us think. To answer: I write because of my ancestor who lived in a cave. One day he picked up a piece of charcoal and made a mark on the wall. He did it because God put an urge in him. Generation and generation and generation since then has solidified that in our DNA: to paint, to sculpt, to talk, to write. Some days I welcome the sense of unrest that comes with that part of my makeup. Other times I know the best day of my life will be when I find a way to bring some degree of peace to that and the other kinks in my DNA that haunt (too strong a word) me.

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    Love this, J.D. The idea that your DNA is linked to an ancestor from way back is thrilling. I’ve often wondered what it must be like to not have the urge to create, and thus not live with the tension of always needing to express myself. But if I did, I’d probably hate myself because I’d be so bored.

  3. Patrick Ross

    Someday I hope to hear one of your lectures, Charlotte.

    That’s a great topic, and a great approach. Do you ever encounter someone who says “I hope to be a writer”? That drives me nuts. Your definition proves they’re a writer. You can hope to be published, but they’re entirely different things.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Yeah, I hear that all the time, Patrick. Also, the ones who say, “I always thought I’d like to be a writer some day.” Well, writers write, so jump on in!
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