It’s common knowledge that almost every published book or article emerges from many drafts. However, it remains mysterious how any writer rewrites what probably seemed just right only a short time before. And then does it again. And again.
How did Ernest Hemingway, for instance, turn that “shitty first draft” into the short story “Big Two-Hearted River“ or the novel The Old Man and The Sea?
Hemingway’s archives hold an answer: a concrete record of the specific changes he made in each project from one draft to the next. You’d learn something from studying them, of course, but you might also miss a simpler and more useful lesson . . .