Hello there Dear Friends and Gentle Readers!
Today I am going to be talking to you about the ever daunting task of large scale revisions. When it comes to revising shorter pieces the revision process isn’t so bad, but when one is faced with a larger piece, it can be hard to even know where to start. Then, once you get started, it’s easy to want to quit. I’m here to share some tips about how to get going and keep going when the going gets tough.
National Novel Writing Month came to a close on Monday, November 30th and for the first time ever, I won. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. I am a NaNoWriMo winner. You would think that would leave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. You’d be wrong.
On December 1st the prevailing emotion I had coursing through my body was dread: I now had to revise this monster. I watched my friend Kim revise her novel The Bell, Unrung (available now on Amazon!) for the past two years and it was no easy feat. I didn’t want to begin that process so soon. I didn’t want that process to go on so long. I just wanted my book to be on Amazon, making me money.
Then I got real, and I started thinking about the reality of the situation and here’s what I realized:
1. Revision takes a lot longer than you think it will.
I hope that by this time next year my little novel is up on Amazon and making me some cold hard cash, but I also know that it took Kim two whole years to get her novel ready to publish and that was with the help of a talented critique group. When you are revising your work, you have to be patient. It takes how long it takes. You can’t rush the process if you want to produce quality work.
2. You are your own worst critic.
I am pretty much convinced that my novel is the worst piece of schlock that has ever been written. You are probably certain that whatever you are working on is the worst piece of schlock that has ever been written as well. I’ll let you in on a little secret: We can’t both be right. Chances are, our work is actually pretty good and once revised it will be downright awesome. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t lose hope. Keep revising. You’ve got to polish the diamond and make it shine.
3. This is not a waste of time.
There are going to be moments in the middle of revisions when you are going to look at your computer screen and you ask yourself “Why am I even doing this?” I know that feeling well. I have been there often. These are the moments when you are going to want to quit what you’re doing and be done with all this writing business. You’ll want to admit defeat to everyone who said you couldn’t do it. You’ll feel like you’ll never get published and everything you’ve done is meaningless. Don’t give in to that feeling. You won’t ever succeed with an attitude like that. We live in the age of self publishing. If you revise and revise well, you can put your baby out into the world all by yourself and someone will buy it and read it. You wouldn’t want to release a poorly edited, poorly revised book, now would you? I didn’t think so.
Have these tips steeled your resolve to revise your novel, dear friends and gentle readers? The road is long, but so worth it. Let me know in the comments!
Joyce Ann Underwood is a blogger and essayist. Originally from Crescent City, Florida she spent her childhood on the back porch listening to the old-timers tell stories. This ignited a passion for nonfiction storytelling that she honed while studying creative writing at the University of West Florida. Her poetry has been published in the creative journal, Kairos and on the website HIV Here and Now. Her essays have also been featured on Offbeat Home. She blogs at www.firstpersonnarrative.com and joyceannunderwood.blogspot.com.