So, I’ve been given a month (!!!) to revise my novel, the second in the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters trilogy. Like everyone else, I get tense and sweaty when faced with the prospect of revision. But when I’m doing it, it actually seems kind of…fun?
I do hate the first read of editorial comments, where it all feels so overwhelming and potentially impossible. As Kate DiCamillo has said of the editorial process (which I tried not to take too personally!), “It feels like I’ve already baked a cake, and now you want me to add eggs!” To assuage this feeling, I set aside the editorial comments once I’ve finished reading them. This cooling-off period is crucial, because A.) I need this time to CALM DOWN, and B.) it’s at this time, when I’m not writing or even thinking about writing, that my brain comes up with the best ideas. I make sure to write down any and all of them in my journal.
Once I feel as if I have a refreshed outlook and some innovations, I review the editorial comments again and break them down into tasks. And then I read through the manuscript again, with those tasks in mind. This is where it seems like a game (or where I’ve somehow convinced myself that it’s a game!), where my goal is to find just the right places to incorporate the editorial suggestions. After I’ve reviewed the manuscript and made all my notes re: where to cut and change and insert text, I go through the whole thing again, chapter by chapter, and get to work.
I know I mention Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird all the time, but it really has been an indispensable writing and revising tool for me. I tend to get easily overwhelmed and discouraged, so dividing the work down into bite-sized tasks is the only way I can get through a project, in writing and in life.
All righty, then. I should get back to revising. Wish me luck — I have a week and a half to go!