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Monday, May 2, 2011

Trust Yourself

Speaking of revisions

So I’m revising my WIP, which has been a lesson in inconsistency. The first day I touched it, I edited chapters one through four. I hit chapter ten before I took some time off to move and unpack.

When I returned, my WIP had become this huge, insurmountable task. In my spare moments I’d open it, remember how much work I had to do, and shut it again.

(Note: This is not a useful process if the goal is to finish revisions some time before the 2012 Apocalypse.*)

I’d revise on weekends when I had a full day to think about just how awful my story was. And then I’d finish a section and decide this was going to be worse than crap. I’d dive into a book to relax, which would only leave me thinking that there was, in fact, no way I could turn my story into something even remotely as good as the book I just read.**

I’d been a while since I opened the document—maybe a week and a half—when I started revising on Saturday afternoon. By Sunday night, when I finished, I had revised one chapter and rewritten five.

Also, my shoulders hurt.

A complete lack of faith in my ability as a writer and storyteller was behind my hesitation to jump in. Because when I re-read those chapters, they were good. Not perfect, of course, but good. What I thought I’d never figure out, I did. And it works in the story.

We all revise differently, but here’s what I took away from my weekend of marathon revisions:

1.     Find a computer.
2.     Pull up a chair.
3.     Open your manuscript.
4.     It’s not that bad.
5.     You’re going to make it better.
6.     Stop your whining.
7.     Write.

No matter how much the blank page or revision notes make you want to quit and take up coal mining, you will figure it out. So stop stalling. Open and write.

*Or the zombie Apocalypse. Whichever comes first.
**Curse you John Green and Melina Marchetta!

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