Well, I am still going through the page proofs for Walking Boston. I have left indexing for a moment to just work on proofing the pages. Every once in a while, I come across a sentence and wonder, "what the hell was I thinking?" It's not just that there is a type or a word missing, the sentence just doesn't make any sense. Most of these gems (don't worry, there aren't that many!) come from places where I respnded to an editor's query or added info on the fly but didn't quite weave the new text in with the existing sentence. In other places, I just chose the most tangled, circuitous way of saying something when a simple, straightforward sentence would be much better.
It makes me think about how often our meaning must be obscured or completely garbled. It's a wonder we get any meaning across. For all it's potential, language is, except in the hands of the most gifted of thinkers, a clumsy and blunt tool. The previous sentence is a great example. Lest I be accused of being down on writing or writers, this observation is actually inspirational. It reminds me that so much of good writing happens in further stages and drafts rather than in a "just put it all down" stroke of genius. I'm neither the first nor the most clever to come to that conclusion, but it is an important one to remember as I go back through this manuscript. This is where I make my stand against bad writing -- against tangled sentences and garbled syntax. Here is where I do my best writing -- frequently by cutting and deleting (more on that later).
What works for you when revising? What tricks and strategies have led to your best writing?
Causes Robert Felton Supports
The Sierra Club, Soccer without Borders,