The past couple of weeks I’ve had to suck it up and dive into the part of writing I’ve been dreading since I started writing –
and rewriting – each draft I’ve started of this crazy novel that I swear someday will be finished: revision. I’ve never voiced that I’m scared of the whole undertaking until now but I am. I even procrastinated an entire month of writing time between critique sessions because I didn’t know where to start or how to go about it.
There. I said it.
I started this current draft with a fairly basic outline and well-thought out characters which was new for me having been a purely discovery writer on all the earlier drafts. Even with an outline, I was still doing a fair bit of discovery writing between the sign posts. I already knew I needed to revise parts of the beginning to match where the ending had morphed to during writing so it should have come as no surprise. But I still had to slap myself and put on my big-girl panties just to dive in.
What I found after three excruciatingly hard weeks of writing sessions with little to no changes in overall word count is this: Just like everything else it seems when it comes to writing, you just have to do it and it gets easier the more you do it. I had to get over my OCD of a perfectly formatted word document and start hacking things up and making side notes in the margins and deleting them when they were checked off. This meant reading and rereading to make sure there was continuity between the old and the new – constantly tweaking a word here and a sentence there.
(Does it surprise you that I found a way to have a checklist even in this area of my life? I guess it shouldn’t, right?)
After three weeks of doing nothing but rewriting, I can report that chapters one through three have gone through the first revision gauntlet and I have polished chapters four and five to submit for critique at tomorrow’s writer’s group. It is amazing to have blown past this obstacle and know it has no power over me. No longer will I cower on the sidelines worried that I don’t know how to revise. I know I can and do it I shall. Which is good because do it I must if I plan on finishing this thing.
The beauty of having a well established writer’s group is that they keep you honest – and writing. Without knowing it, that’s exactly what mine did for me this month. Without these three amazing women, I would not be where I am today. Period.