Ten things about revision that have little to do with actual revision
February 17, 2014
1. Do the easy fixes first so that after you’ve gone through all the spelling mistakes and formatting issues, you can be like – ‘I am the best reviser of all time!’
2. Turn the internet off because you do not need to research the origin of ‘OK’ when it has nothing to do with your manuscript and will not move along your revision. (and actually it’s not an easy answer so googling it will result in a twenty minute diversion)
3. Remain calm. Remember – bird by bird people. Bird by bird.
4. Keep all of your closet doors closed because you will – at one point – feel the need to organize and re-organize something that’s not as hard as a novel.
5. Reward yourself when you fix something that felt unfixable.
6. Do not waste three weeks developing a system of revising - like writing all of the flaws of your manuscript onto color-coded index cards (though, thank you for these Lorrie-Ann!), sorting and alphabetizing revision comments, or standing in the office supply aisle for an hour waiting for some kind of organizational inspiration. This is procrastination and we’re ON TO YOU.
7. Try not to rewrite the whole darn novel. If you can’t fight the urge, take a break, call it a day, and clear your mind before starting over on page 1.
8. When critical writing time is usurped by snowmageddons, rogue illnesses, or equipment failure, know that it is not a conspiracy. There are 24 hours in a day. Get creative with your time or just calmly wait it out.
9. It is a rule that you do not have to make gourmet nor well-balanced dinners when you’re revising. There. I just said it. And so it shall be.
10. When you are finished with your revision and send it off to your writers group, or agent, or editor, or mom, you may feel an inkling of sadness to see it go. Don’t despair! Because there’s a good chance you’ll get to revise that manuscript AGAIN.