Great Writers are Rewriters

“There is no great writing, only great rewriting,” declares Louis Dembitz Brandeis. The Supreme Court Justice is not alone on this view as critic and columnist Kurt Loder has remarked, “Rewriting is a large part of the whole job.”

“More than a half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting,” admits novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Irving. His sentiment is echoed by novelist Khaled Hosseini who has said, “Writing for me is largely about rewriting.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough obviously agrees since he has stated, “I work very hard on the writing, writing and rewriting and trying to weed out the lumber.”

“And get rid of stuff that’s not working,” adds Loder. “Just pare it down until it’s a beautiful thing you can hand in, probably late, to your editor.”

“The process of rewriting is enjoyable, because you’re not in that existential panic when you don’t have a novel at all,” explains bestselling author Rose Tremain.

“Rewriting isn’t just about dialogue,” notes knighted playwright Tom Stoppard. “It’s the order of the scenes, how you finish a scene, how you get into a scene.”

Poet Sarah Kay concurs with her explanation, “Artistry is important. Skill, hard work, rewriting, editing, and careful, careful craft: All of these are necessary. These are what separate the beginners from experienced artists.”

As author Wendelin Van Draanen puts it, “I rewrite my books many times before submitting them, and after my editor takes a look I wind up rewriting some more! It’s a good thing I learned at an early age to keep on trying. Stick to it, and eventually you’ll get there.”

If you are an aspiring writer or know someone who is, it’s clear rewriting is the key to success. To help in this endeavor, Whiteyboard makes dry-erase boards in different sizes and styles (classic, matte, ghost) as well as dry-erase notepads, paper and notes that are ideal for writing—and rewriting.

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