“The Zen of Revision” with Melissa Holbrook Pierson

Writers in the Mountains (WIM) presents The Zen of Revision with Melissa Holbrook Pierson, a weekend intensive held online Saturday and Sunday, April 9 – 10, 2022, from to 1 to 4 pm. Once you register and pay, you will be given instructions on how to join the class.

Once you’ve produced the collection of words, you’re only halfway to writing something. Revision is a critical part of the creative process. It’s also a thorny one: a major difficulty all writers face is being too close to their own work. Zen – “a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than conscious effort”—perfectly describes the ideal state of mind in which to revise. So many of its core principles relate perfectly to the task of shaping our own work. By adding a “pause” before considering a change we resist reaction in favor of thoughtful response; we seek detachment from the superficial attributes of our own work in order to commit the necessary murder of “our darlings”; by trusting intuition, we imbue our work with greater authenticity and integrity; by seeking to remain present to “what is” we can envision the best our writing can be. Even the minimalist aesthetic associated with Zen can be fruitfully applied to revision, since almost any work is strengthened by a “less is more” approach.

In this weekend workshop, we will consider how we can use the various tools of Zen practice in the service of fluidity and clarity. We will sharpen our scissors, and learn to love the paradox of deleting to add power. And we will play around—to get serious about revision.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of five books, including The Place You Love Is Gone and The Perfect Vehicle. A freelance book critic, essayist, and editor, she has taught writing at the Cape Cod Writers Conference and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. She has an MA in English Literature from Columbia University and is a submissions reader for the literary magazine The Common. Her website is melissaholbrookpierson.com.

To register, e-mail writersinthemountains@gmail.com. To register online, visit writersinthemountains.org. Class fee is $65. Limited to ten students.

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Learn more at writersinthemountains.org.