When I finished writing my first solo show Jewnique, relief blanketed me in a way I never experienced before. "Finally, it's done!" I said to myself more than once. But oh, how wrong I was because although Jewnique went through many drafts before its debut in May 2018, I realized it was far from finished.
Thanks to feedback from friends and family who attended the debut performance, I've been tweaking the show to add more personal reflections on my up-and-down relationship with Judaism. I wasn't as vulnerable as I could have been in the final draft.
At first, when I was confronted with the daunting obligation of editing Jewnique once again, I was frustrated. This? Again? Ugh! But then I began to see the forest through the trees, to borrow a terrible cliche. I discovered the joy of editing, which is something I experienced often with my journalistic work. Now, with an hour-long show requiring some cuts and added material, I was smiling wide at how I could add a phrase here or a joke there and strengthen the show to become something I could see being performed across the world.
Editing takes a different skillset than writing or performing. You have to kill your most treasured lines if they weigh down the story or come off as corny on a second read. You have to be merciless. And in my latest Jewnique draft, I have been cutthroat, so much so I was sad to see some great lines go but overjoyed to welcome new ideas to the party.
If you're a writer disappointed to learn you need to write another draft of this or that piece, learn from my story: Editing can be a lesson in chipping away at your finished sculpture to reveal even more nuances you missed the first time around. And when you get it right, there's no better feeling.
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