By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press
The poor-quality cell phone photo above is a draft of a presentation I’ll be giving next week. After writing the draft and then crossing out and changing a good part of it, I typed it up on my computer, making yet more changes.
I’ve been working in publishing for ten years, so one might think that I’ve had plenty of time to hone my writing skills. I have, but more than that, I’ve honed my rewriting skills.
After all, Justice Brandeis once said, “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.”
I work with excellent writers in my job, but I have yet to see a truly perfect first draft. Not that I’m complaining! From little tweaks to major overhauls, just about every piece of writing benefits from some revision and rewriting. I’ve found that the amount of rewriting that is involved in a book doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on the quality of the finished product. Some spectacular books may have undergone dramatic changes in the revision process.
So for anyone out there who is interesting in writing, don’t write a first draft and despair when it’s not perfect. Know that your first draft is just the beginning, and then get in there and start rewriting.