Her intention was to showcase her very best flowers year round. In the case of flowers, it turned out to be a lot of work. Editing poetry, though less physically challenging, is sometimes also a lot of work.
8. Editing = weeding
The goal in editing is to create the very best finished poem that you are able to compose. As you go through this process, the poem itself tells you whether you are on the mark or are writing amiss.
When I am editing, and while writing, I go through a similar exercise as that of my friend. I might extract a word, a number of words, or even whole sentences, to rearrange them, or to delete them entirely.
I always look for that one line which stands above all the others in the poem; the line that is the most succinct, eloquent, and/or clever. That line then becomes a benchmark to measure the other lines by.
When I've located that very best line, I work on the other lines, bringing them into equal standing with it. If a reworked line excels above my first line, the new one then becomes my benchmark.
Sometimes, a line within the poem reveals itself as a better first line, and so I'll move it up and continue to tweak the piece, line by line, until I am satisfied that the work is the best that I can come up with.
I tend to be very strict in my writing style as I adhere ardently to my chosen meter and rhyme scheme, while aiming for clarity and beauty, and allowing for myriad levels of interpretation. Its my style.
I will never be in a position to boast that my work is perfect, but I always strive to write the most perfect poem that I am capable of ... only to discover, some time later, that a poem wasn't quite finished.
You can edit while you write, or let it all spill out onto the page and then edit. The main purpose of your edits is to hone your work, that is, to work it into something keen, polished, and complete.
Once you have composed and edited your work, allow it to ferment for a time. Some of my verses have taken years to mellow into their current form. I always find this aspect of writing rather intriguing.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a striking similarity between a poem and a puzzle in that the pieces must lock together smoothly. Never force your work. Allow your muse to help you.
I caution you to keep every word or sentence that you edit out of your poems somewhere on file. These scraps of thought may lead to a new poem, or at least give you a new idea to pursue. Otherwise, you might later wonder, "What was that line/phrase that I wrote once..."
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