I'm back in my "office." It's been three months since I sat on my deck and had a good writing session. There's something about the fresh air, blue sky, evil squirrel, and soaring birds that gets the creative side of my brain cranking.

I've been giving "REVISION" a lot of thought lately. For some writers it's a necessary evil; for my teenage students it seems to be a foreign concept. For me, it's like soon as I stop, I need to start again. I never feel completely finished with revisions.

When I listened to Diana Gabaldon describe how she writes, I was amazed. She doesn't believe in revision. She may spend ten or twenty minutes working on a single sentence, but once she's done with it, she moves on and doesn't go back.

I'm more about getting the big picture out on the page and then going back and fine tuning. Sometimes, my characters act in ways I hadn't anticipated, and I need to return to the early stages of the work and make significant changes. Sometimes it's simply a matter of tweaking the vocabulary. In any case, I spend considerable time re-reading and re-writing.

My eighth grade students, on the other hand, write and BAM! The perfect piece of writing miraculously appears on the page. No need to even go back and read what they've written. They are completely confident that they've written a masterpiece. Imagine the shock when my assessment doesn't align with their perception.

My goal in the classroom this year is to help students realize that writing is not a linear process. (Even Diana goes over and over each sentence before she moves on.) The necessity of going slowly, taking time, and thinking about the words is very difficult in a world of instant gratification and unending action.

Maybe that's why I do my best work in the mountains. The quiet rhythm of life in nature slows me down to the point where I can actually hear my creative voice...once the evil squirrel shuts up.

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