Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug.”

I’m currently trying to add lightning bolts to my manuscript and as I stare at the mass of notes I’ve made about just how to do that, I must confess I feel like returning to bed and pulling the duvet over my head.

When I searched for inspiration this morning, I came across quotes from several writers to the effect that revision is their favourite part of the writing process. Inspiring? No, those comments simply make me feel inadequate.

Closer to inspiration was a quote from Isaac Singer: “The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.” And it occurs to me that wastebaskets offer not only friendship – as I discovered recently when we packed our belongings, their contents, when shredded, make fantastic cushioning for fine china.

But the quote that will get me through today and the next month of revisions is this from Blaise Pascal: “The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter.”

Somehow it helps to know that revision was as important in the 1600s as it is today.