I walked through my local art museum a couple weeks ago and saw a Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro collection. I was struck by seeing drafts of the same etchings side by side. I expected to only see the final versions. The information box said that the artists, “gave their working process much greater visibility” by showcasing the revisions of the same etching.
I wondered how can this valuing of revisions apply to writing?
As a poet, I love reading the revisions and edits that well-known poets make in their poems. They sometimes share their writing process on Twitter. No matter the differences between these poets’ and my successes in poetry, I relate to them when I see how writing is a process for them.
When we only see writers’ final writing products, the readers (who are also writers) for the most part, don’t get to see the writer’s journey. Sometimes I forget that even the most successful writers also revise their writing.