The last time I discussed setting an intention, it was in relation to coming to the page for rough-draft writing. In this post, I’m bringing the concept of setting an intention to revision. In setting an intention at the start of yoga or writing practice, the writer or yogi attempts to peel back the layers of old habits to see where the focus will be most fruitful. In setting an intention during revision, I suggest peeling back the layers to see where the truth of the story lies. Adopting the practice of setting an intention as a first point of revision helps writers create a hub around which to work — a center point on which to balance. Setting the intention here means finishing the following sentence in three to five words: My story is about ________. Peeling back the layers here reveals something like reliving past trauma, or finding the authentic self. Saying it in one word is too little – pain, rebirth, for instance. Saying it in more than five leads to the risk of having too large a center point, which can lead to exponential excess later on.
After you’ve written the first draft, set it aside. Come back several days later. Read. Ask yourself, “What is this story about?” What do you intend with this story? Write that. Post it somewhere you can see as you work the revision. Everything in the story must speak to this intention. No matter how beautiful, it must be removed if it doesn’t support your story’s intention. No matter how hard, you must fill in all the spaces necessary for your reader to fully understand your story’s intention.
Discover your story’s intention.