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How to Sharpening your Creative Saw for Revision

Have you heard the expression “sharpening your saw?”

This means you can continue to use a dull blade to saw through wood, exerting extra pressure and yielding lesser results, or you can take a moment to sharpen your saw, which helps you work more efficiently. We may be hesitant to sharpen our saw because we mistake taking time away from work for maintenance purposes as quitting. But we must do, else our writing will keep getting dull and ineffective. You need to regain your keenness and what better way than to take some time out to sharpen your saw and renew your perspective.

Here are the ways to sharpen your saw.

THE OUTDOORS. Great writers like Hemingway and Thoreau practiced the art of using the great outdoors to sharpen their creative minds. If you can, you should spend a couple of days surrounded by nature and tapping back into your inner creativity. You can go hiking or camping, either solo or with a group, to help restore the wholeness of your mind. You can also go for a walk, play some games, or go out with friends. Just live a little in the outdoors.

CLEAN UP THE WORKPLACE. A tidy study or writing area can help restore creative juices. Clean up your writing space. Discard the pile of trashed paper, properly file the rest, and execute all your pending tasks. Enough with the procrastination on other activities. Water the plants, clean your window frame, and leave it open.

ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING SPACE. Don’t leave your writing space disorganized. I have learnt over time that an organized workspace is a perfect scene for creativity. So, shape up your books. Shelve them properly. You can gift or sell the ones you no longer need and make room for new ones. This practice will improve your writing.

READ YOUR FAVORITE BOOK. When you are short on a fresh perspective, you should consider reading your favorite book from the past. As soon as you start reading, you will notice the things about it you like. It could be the hook, the dialogue, the plot points, or the description. Soon, you realize what your work is lacking and how best to supply it.

DO SOMETHING ELSE CREATIVE. You can take up drawing or painting; it doesn’t matter that you aren’t good at it. You can even take up learning to play a musical instrument. When you engage in these other creative activities, your mind becomes more relaxed, applied to something that can be thrilling and exciting. And you will be exercising a distinct part of your brain. That is the perfect mental state to have when you return to writing or revising your story.

START A NEW PROJECT. You can consider starting a new writing project. It might not be a new novel, but it could be a short article, a short story, a flash fiction or even a poem. It mustn’t be as long as the project you are about to revise. But if you have finished the last verse of a pretty cool poem, you might find the grit to open a new document file and begin a novella or a novel.

JUST THINK ABOUT IT. Even if you don’t eventually follow the previous idea and start a new project, you can still think about it. Brainstorm possible story ideas and just play with these ideas even though you won’t develop any of them. Have fun with it, and just spin out as many funny story ideas as you can. I would add that you should jot them down, though. You never can tell.

Whatever method you adopt, when you allow your conscious mind a break from the writing you are about to revise, you give your subconscious time to work. And your subconscious is where the magic happens. So, while you are taking a walk in the woods, seeing friends and learning to play the Spanish guitar, your story is in your subconscious, incubating and taking new and improved forms. And when you return to your work with your conscious mind, things begin to look different, and you begin to see new angles and better ways to improve your story. Now you will be aware of the areas to strengthen and the areas to cut out or fix.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen