Regardless, I often find myself avoiding the entire process.
I have stage fright. Performance anxiety.
I psych myself out.
When I picture a manuscript, I see a intricately woven tapestry built over weeks and months of looming (uh, is that a word?) and weaving threads.
Sure, there are mistakes, knots, wonky stitches, but how can you cut out a section of a tapestry without redoing the whole thing? How can you tear apart something you so lovingly created?
Well, in reality, a manuscript isn’t a tapestry at all. It’s a word document. Words can be changed. Scenes can be deleted–without upsetting the flow of the rest of the piece!
But it’s still a lot of work.
I have some thoughts on how to make things easier. (Yes, I’ve tried these and it works!)
How to get to gettin’ when revising:
- Schedule time to revise. (Saying “I’ll do this tomorrow or later” isn’t good enough. Just like starting a diet tomorrow, tomorrow never comes because a specific moment is never really determined. I mean, really, you can put off tomorrow for years. Right?)
- Make your environment comfy. (Who wants to sit in an austere, cold, drafty, dark, boring place? Get your sweater, cosy socks, water bottle, coffee mug, favorite snack, and cushiest pillow.)
- Get rid of distractions. (Turn off the TV. Lock the kids out. Turn off Facebook, Twitter, email, G+, YouTube, NPR, etc. I know it’s hard, but we survived without them before, right? So we can do it again.)
- Open. The. Document. (Just because you’ve turned the computer on doesn’t mean you’ve got your manuscript open.)
- Turn on the tunes. (I know several writers who develop soundtracks for each manuscript. I don’t, but I DO love to listen to music while I work.)
- Be in the moment. (Don’t look at the entire document. Look at the first sentence. Then the second. Then the third. And so on.)
- Copy and paste. (Hit a really tough spot? Copy the section into another document and have at it. If you don’t like it, don’t bother switching it out. But I BET you’ll make it better.)
- When revising QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. (Rough drafts are for quantity. Revising is where you make every word count. It’s a laborious process, but take your time anyway. The slower you go, the more you’ll catch.)
- Exercise Patience. (If you need a break or need to redo a section you’ve already revised, don’t beat yourself up. Listen to your instincts.)
What helps you revise?
Be sure to check out Deb’s response to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic of expectations!