My wife, Beverly, can’t stand the sound of knives being sharpened. Clever person that she is, she gave me a professional knife sharpener several years ago. It’s big and electric, so she has plenty of warning when the urge to sharpen takes me. The device has three sharpening positions. The first one comes with a special cover and dire warnings that it should be used only with very dull and distressed knives. The second grinding stone is where the basic business of sharpening gets done. The final position is not a stone, but an emery cloth that polishes the edge.
The sharpening process is similar to rewriting, at least for me. That first, most dangerous stone is for very dull writing, the kind that should be thrown out entirely. In my case, the second stone is my writing groups, where help from others grinds away some words, sharpens dialog and puts an edge on plot (sorry, I couldn’t resist). The final polish is copy editing to make the work shine (ditto).
Okay, it’s a bit labored as a metaphor, but it works for me.