Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vision & Revision I

We're accustomed to seeing the editing process as a harsh, left-brain activity too often filled with violent and abusive language: It's about forcing the work to our will, gagging, restraining or reigning in our characters, hacking away at our work or banging our manuscript into shape. Yet when we treat our drafts with such disrespect, we're also disrespecting ourselves as its creator.

What follows is Part I of a two-part series on a more heartful approach to polishing your work and your words.

See the editing process as one of re-vision, of revisiting your original vision for your work and putting all your heart, art and skill into aligning what's on paper with that vision.

As you move through your piece -- whatever it is, whatever its length -- see yourself as a jeweler, delicately etching your rough stone into the gem that reflects the vision your heart has conceived and received, then lovingly polishing it until you achieve the look and texture you desire.

Your vision is the light force of your work, the life force of your work. It's the spirit that is its essence, the breath that keeps it alive. Your vision is your dream for your work, the expression of your intention. It's what guides it, drives it and propels it -- from conception to completion.

The more deeply you stay connected to that vision -- however broadly or specifically you have drawn it -- the more completely the finished piece will remain true to that life force, that dream, that intention. And the truer you will be to the work that has called upon you to commit it to paper and breathe life into it.

Creating a vision statement is one way to maintain and strengthen that connection. In the vision-statement examples that follow, the first is the one I created for The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write before it was finished. The others were written by coaching clients and workshop/coaching-group participants, the first and third are for works-in-progress and the second is for the overarching spirit of the writer's work.

The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write is about freedom: freedom to grow, freedom to create, freedom to write. Through a dynamic blend of motivational essays, inspiring meditations and practical exercises, it nourishes, nurtures and reassures its readers, inspiring them to open their hearts, expand their minds and experience, with ease, a full, creative life.
~ Mark David Gerson

• Through the eyes of Lily Addams, A House of Gold will explore the arrival and lives of the Chinese immigrants here in Sacramento and the Foothills during the Gold Rush, as well as the possibilities for women during this transitional time in the Golden State. At a deeper level, at the very “heart” of the book, will be a story about the heart and becoming and staying whole-hearted through triumphs and trials, as well as through the daily joys and hurts that make up our lives. It is a book about heart, for heart, and by heart.
~ Sue Cross

• Writing is choosing to dance with the The Goddess of Creativity, choosing to be in service to the Universe, choosing to surrender with Joy and Love to the Voice and Story that allows itself to be expressed through my Being and my experience.
~ Vicki Daigneau

Remembering Your Divinity, A Co-Creator’s Guide to Manifesting by Heart is about creating -– by heart. Through a blending of science and mysticism, Remembering Your Divinity reminds you of who you are, why you are here, what it means to be a conscious co-creator, what creative energy is, how it flows, and how to use it, why the heart is the key to manifesting, and provides tools to stay in the flow of your creation so that you live as the God/Goddess that you are!
~ Joan Cerio

What's your vision for your work-in-progress or for your work as a writer?

• For more information on how to articulate a vision statement for your work, see "Awakening Your Vision" in The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

I'll be offering a full-day workshop on "Vision & Revision: A Radical Approach to Editing" on Saturday, May 8 in Albuquerque, New Mexico as my final workshop here before moving to Los Angeles. Included will be an exercise to help you create vision statements.

Click here to register or for more information on the workshop.


Kelly said...

Each of these visions statements are spot on and brilliant. I could simply adopt Vicki's as my own...

Mark David Gerson said...

You could (adopt Vicki's as your own)....but it'll never be as effective as one you create!

(I don't know if you've seen my email to Karla, but I'm looking to bump Saturday's Vision/Revision workshop into the afternoon to make it possible for her...and perhaps attend.)

marshgrass said...

i just finished the first draft of my first attempt at writing a novel. ive put it aside for a little while but in june i was going to pick it back up and start the editing process. do you have any advice for a first time novelist?

Mark David Gerson said...

@marshgrass - congrats on that first draft! That's truly awesome!! As for guidance, I'd start by encouraging you to read the follow-up post to this one. There's also a bit more revision info in my book, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.

The best advice I can give you, though, is to listen to the book itself -- not the 1st draft, but actual book -- and trust what it tells you. It knows itself better than you ever will!

Finally, you might be interested in the Coast to Coast Coaching Group for Writers I'm starting up on June 13 (over the phone, thru a conference call center). It might be a way to get some real-time inspiration and practical guidance as you launch this next draft.

Regardless, take some time to truly celebrate the achievement that is the completion of a first draft!!