Let the blood dry

In writing there is a saying that you have to let the blood dry before you rewrite. Meaning that your text needs to rest before you return to it. At least for a week. Usually more, but not too long. You want to make distance to your creation and come back to it with fresh eyes that have been somewhere else in the meantime. On the other hand you don’t want to make too much distance to it. Who knows, you might loose it…?

It’s difficult, though, to let it rest if you are absorbed by it. It takes time to understand that it’s a natural part of the writer’s craft. A crucial part. It gives your text depth. Filters out your “darlings” that are always part of a first draft. You love them as you write, and hate them when you rewrite. They have to go, it’s as simple as that, but you can’t see it until the blood has dried.

Like good wine

It’s just like good wine. Once the grapes are pressed it needs rest to transform itself into wine worth drinking. A piece of text is the same. It has a ripening period, and you rarely know in advance how long it is. So you check in with your text about once a week or os. Sometimes once a month to get a taste of your words and phrases. Do they need an extra rewrite, or are they ripe enough to be published? If your text was a wine would you open it?

It takes experience as a writer to assess the right amount of ripening. It’s something you have to practice over and over again, and it never actually stops. It keeps going, but you get so good at it eventually that it becomes the true magic of your writing. The stuff under the surface.

Deeper understanding

It’s key to good writing, but it’s a key we seem to have lost. In today’s world of non-stop writing, we have simply lost our connection with the natural ripening process of writing. As a result, we are diluting the quality of our writing, and it might affect us more than we are ware of.

Ultimately writing is understanding and sharing that understanding with each other through publishing. We would have a deeper understanding of life and each other, if we allowed the blood to dry before we publish — no matter where.