Monday, January 14, 2013

Footsteps: Revision

A few weeks back I gave out some practical revision ideas, but today I want to examine a more nuanced way to look at revision.

My walk in the summer and fall.
Every day I try to take a walk. Usually I’m taking the same walk, retracing my footsteps. It’s a good walk, part exercise, part meditation; I use my walking time to let my brain ruminate on my current project, and more often than not, that rumination is fruitful.

In fact I find that I reach a breakthrough idea at about the same point every walk - that must be the place where my brain relaxes into my physical exertion and my internal editor goes on vacation, because I come up with my best ideas as I reach that rock, that tree.

Today, while walking this route, I could see the imprint of yesterday’s walk in the fresh snow. I put my foot in the same imprint at times; at times, I moved away for easier footing or a more direct route. Sometimes I moved even further, if I heard or saw something of interest that I could incorporate into my walk, weaving a deer sighting or a wolf track into the thread of this walk and into memory.

Winter dawn at my new Bozeman house...just because.
This is how I see revision. I walk in the footsteps of my previous work. Sometimes I work to make something more direct. Sometimes I clarify. And sometimes I find an entirely new thread, a new path, or a new and exciting interest.

I love revising, almost as much as I love walking. The generation of work is exciting, just as walking a new route can be a thrill. But walking the same route every day is a pleasure of a different kind – awakening my senses and sharpening my focus.

So I’m off to revise...right after my walk!


Rosanne said...

I try to walk every day too but I could never take the same route every time. I'd go crazy. Lucky me there are 40 miles of hiking trails in Forest Park in Portland.

Love the sunrise picture!

Janet Fox said...

Interesting, Rosanne! I love having the same route to walk with little variations. That way I don't think about where I am but it becomes meditative. But whatever works, right?

I can't believe the sky here - Big Sky Country for sure.

Candilynn Fite said...

I enjoyed this, Janet. I really need to get back to walking. It does the creative soul such good. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Janet Fox said...

That, great, Candilynn. I just came back. Refreshed, renewed, ready for another 5 pages. :)