Okay, I have been testing out some other forums. Elite is my primary forum, but I still like to get out there to compare critique and advise.
On one forum I was told that you should not revise a poem until at least six months have gone by. I was told you cannot make a good edit if you edit quickly. I'm having a hard time swallowing that one. If you were trying to publish a book, trust me, your editor would not allow you to wait 6 months for an edit of 30 lines.
To be honest, it is silly to put time frames on editing and rewriting. Perhaps they mean to say, you should get back to it with a clear head and no attachment to it so that you feel that you can make it better and not cry over every line that you change or delete. But who can say when that is? You can do it the same day. You can do it in a year. That is for you to decide.
I rarely rewrite my poems. I either tweak them to make them more sound (and of course correct grammar), but rarely rewrite. I feel that if I rewrite too much, my voice will be completely lost...and so will the meaning. I'd rather then discard it than have a poem written that is meaningless to me.
I've occasionally edited an original work until it morphed into something entirely different, but that was to satisfy myself before I went public with it. After it was posted, the dialogue about meaning and change solidified but I rarely did much with it right away unless I was dissatisfied with the original and felt compelled to either tweak it or gut it. Follow your instincts and listen to those you trust to help with the preliminary post and then pay attention to how the general public receives the post.
I write. I revise. Then I revise again, and again, and again, many times before taking it public. With meaningful criticism, I may revise again, immediately. The key word in that sentence being "meaningful." I will then wait. How long? Well until I have decided to change something, either through my own discovery or, perhaps, through criticism from others.
I believe it is up to the artistic inclinations of the author and not a time clock as to when to edit a piece. I find myself editing pieces of five or ten years of life, and I edit yesterdays works as well.
I frequently quote W. H Auden, who said, when asked to what he attributed his poetic success, replied, "Revise, revise, revise."
It surely remains the writers choice.
I know it seems weird to comment on your own post but I'm going to leave my philosophy.
I rarely edit directly after I post, unless it is misspellings or punctuation. I do not have a set time, but I ususally post for critique and then wait until I'm not emotionally attached to what I wrote: Sometimes that is weeks, and sometimes it is days. It really depends on why I wrote the piece. Things that I write as a challenge, usually do not have a lot of sentimental value and I can edit them within days and do a good job. Other pieces I wait. And some, I can look back on after years and see things to tweak, but then I have to decide if I change it or let it be part of my portfolio.
Even famous writers morph over time with style and word choice getting more sophisticated. I think that is part of the growth process.
What are your thoughts?