So today, I wanted to talk about something that EVERY writer experiences during editing. The revision blues. Right now, I’m about a quarter way through this draft of TEOS…and while I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this novel, I’ve chosen to completely bend the shape of this manuscript. It’s hard, but I just know that when I’m done it’ll be so much better for it. Because these revisions are so spine-bending, I’m constantly in the state of questioning myself— Am I making the right decisions? Is this making the novel better or worse? Will I utterly loathe this book once I’m done with it? Is this book just one giant mess? Revision is both wonderful and terrible that way. This book has been torn apart, redrafted, and reimagined to fit the image I have in my head, and while it’s been hard, it’s also been worth it, and I’m also prepared to go through a million more rounds of edits to get it right.
Right now, I’m drowning myself in homemade edible cookie dough balls (made with oats and maple syrup, for those who’re wondering!), coffee, anything else I can get my hands on…and trying to ignore those niggling fears. But they’re still there. Every time I open up my word doc., I hear them, and honestly? It’s an effort to push them back to write—but I AM getting there. Doubts and fears are the worst part of the revision blues. We question ourselves at every turn, and every plot hole we have to correct seem much larger than it probably is. But the trick? Don’t let these fears overcome you. Thankfully, I’m not on deadline, and these are just self-edits, but I would love to have this draft done by April as I’ll be traveling for most of that month, so I’ve made it my current goal.
Little known fact about me: I almost always have a side project I’m working on when I’m revising (…as well as fending off a hundred other ideas.) It’s NEVER the center of my focus (I think if I tried to divide my attention evenly, it wouldn’t work) and some days I won’t work or even think about it much. But having a book on the back burner—still there, but not my main focus—helps, even if I’m not actively drafting it. When the doubts become too much, I can step back, focus on another project I’m passionate about for a moment, and come back to my current WIP with a clearer, focused mind.
The doubts will still be there, of course. They probably don’t ever go away. But they’re not necessarily negative if you learn how to use them in a way that’s beneficial to your work. So, use these self-doubts, writers—and use them to make your novel better, better, and even better.
So, to all my writers out there who are struggling with the revision blues—
I BELIEVE IN YOU.
We can do this. Even if we have to take a few days to pause, recollect our thoughts, and push on, we can push through these revision blues.
On Twitter, for all those who are interested, I posted the first lines of TEOS, as part of the “first line of your WIP” tag, so I thought I’d put it here too.
Recently, I’ve been binge-listening to a lot of different music (you guys know that music is basically my #1 inspiration for writing), and I discovered a SUPER underrated artist. Sam Tinnesz’s “Babel” album is SO GOOD. I’m literally listening to it on a loop as I write this post, and I have no idea why he’s not more popular. Super catchy beats, awesome lyrics, and overall, just so damn good. The sort of music that doesn’t leave you for ages after you’ve listened to it. As well as that, I’m addicted to The Last Jedi’s original score. John Williams does a downright amazing job of blending old & new themes, and “Jedi Steps” (which was actually in The Force Awakens, also featured in “Ahch-To Island” in TLJ) … and literally gives me CHILLS. The whole score is just breathtaking. I’ve seen that movie TWICE in theatre, which I’ve never done before—so you can surmise from that just how much I adored it. That throne room scene with Rey and Kylo Ren? AMAZING. Actual chills watching that movie at several points, both times.
Currently reading: THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS by Rupi Kaur
Currently listening to: “Babel” (Album) by Sam Tinnesz & “Gladiator” by Zayde Wolf.