Documenting drafts: Hit and Miss #2

A peek behind the scenes of my editing process

Printed version of Hit and Miss #2, with hand-written annotations. (Follow the links on the images for full versions.)

I went out for a solo dinner Sunday night. In between courses, I pulled out the pages pictured above—a printed copy of my draft for the second edition of Hit and Miss, my email newsletter.

I’ve long been interested in how other people write. What process do they follow? Editing, in particular, interests me. (High-school friends will remember that I was always up to edit their writing—that offer still stands, for anyone I’ve met.)

Most of the edits in here are fairly minor, not particularly interesting. I just want to call attention to the last line—I rewrote it eight or nine times. To make sure everyone can read the rewrites, here are the different options I considered. Each follows the first half of the phrase, “That, and ignoring them as we get on with doing the work that matters,”

  • “regardless of what headings it might sit under” (the original)
  • “regardless of the labels we may give it”
  • “regardless of how we may call it”
  • “regardless of its labels”
  • “its labels notwithstanding”
  • “whatever its labels” (the version I ultimately used)
  • “whatever we may call it”
  • “however we may call it”
  • “labels be damned” (dessert had arrived at this point, bringing my process to a, uh, graceful close)

As I write more, I find my desire to edit increases. I want to work and rework my words, fine-tuning them until they’re better than their original form. Exhausting, at times, but rewarding in the end. (Even moreso when your hard work is rewarded with rice pudding.)