Revising can be Magical… But Sometimes It’s Painful
I have days that I love revising. I also have days when I just can’t stand it. On the days that I do love it, I use that energy to get as much work as I can do and enjoy the process because I know these days are few and far between. On the days that I hate it, I find my distaste for revision stems from feeling frustration at what is on the page and the realization that there is a ton of work that needs to be done in order to get it up to par with what has been accomplished earlier.
But the truth is, revision is incredibly important to the improvement of any MS. It is through revision that the true greatness of your story is allowed to shine through. Once all those rough patches are sloughed off and buffed out, we are left with these crisp, wonderfully envisioned scenes that oftentimes don’t resemble the awkward dangling things that were skulking around in the corner of that first draft.
Despite how often I hate revision and how often revision hates me in return, we have a mutual understanding. We need each other. It’s as simple as that. We need each other to make this book possible, to make the characters come to life and to ultimately, hopefully, bring the story in front of an audience who will fall in love with what we’ve done together.
Oftentimes, I liken revision to the equivalent of jumping off of a cliff. But, when I listen to my intuition and take that leap, having mustered the courage to do what I hadn’t envisioned before, I have found that I am rewarded when I take that plunge. Sometimes I do fall flat on my face and I find myself grateful for saving that last draft and starting on a new doc, but other times, I soar and the MS is taken to a new height. The characters grow, the plot fleshes out, the pace becomes more consistent, the writing more dynamic and I become a better writer for it.
So while I may not enjoy revision, while it feels like I’m taking a blade to my MS each time I need to edit and re-imagine scenes, I know it is only for the best. I also know that if I don’t do it, and if I don’t continue to pursue this dream of publication I will forever be tormented by the thought that I didn’t try to actualize my greatest dream, that I held it at the tips of my fingers and I let it slip away because I was too afraid to take the plunge.
If you’re a writer, then I encourage you to do the same. Dive off that cliff, listen to your intuition and let it guide your hand, revise the MS line by line, scene by scene, fall in love with your characters and the world you have built. Make your MS stronger and let the story of your heart shine!
Out of curiosity, what do you do when you find yourself in a revision rut? What methods do you turn to? Please share your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear what you have to say, I love talking with other writers!