IWSG: More Revision Terror

The question of the month is What is Your Favorite Aspect of Being a Writer? Of being a writer, or of actually writing? There might be some semantics to bicker about in there, somewhere.

My favorite part of being a writer is the community that it makes me a part of. I enjoy being able to reach out to other writers, to communicate, to make new friends. I enjoy the sense of belonging, based on effort and art. I enjoy the idea that at a very basic level we believe that storytelling is worthwhile, and worth doing well.

My insecurities, this month:

I’m going into NaNoWriMo with a half-revised manuscript on the back burner, and a whole lot more that I may never revise crammed into overflowing drawers and stuffed trunks. I’ve made my Nano Goal a more presentable, cleaner first draft, and I’m working toward that.

My doubt–as always–is that I can revise quickly and efficiently. I’ve reached the point where writing 50,000 words in a month isn’t impossible. It’s not even all that unusual. But the revision… That gets to me. Particularly since I have a tendency not to write things in order, or even in recognizable chunks.

Right now… I’m trying to work with ONE piece of paper at a time.

I get ONE piece of paper. Not a notebook. Not a computer. ONE piece of paper. When that’s full, I get another piece of paper. I don’t get to make a lot of starts and stops, and I don’t get to freak out and bounce all over the place. Naturally, part of the problem will be staying away from the endless supply of paper.

We’ll see how it all works out, and I’ll report back in a month.


  1. Reply

    I love the days when everything flows. I start writing with an idea of what’s supposed to happen in the scene, and the words almost write themselves. My characters react in character and interact in ways I never could have planned, and I see new connections with other parts of my book.

    I also find it satisfying when I finally figure out how parts of my story fit together. Person A is actually person B, which explains why he’s doing what he’s doing; or I figure out how to fill a plot hole and it’s brilliant.

    Of course, I couldn’t neglect to mention the wonderfully supportive online community. We’re all doing this alone, but we’re not really alone.

    All the best with your piece of paper!

    • Reply

      You can do it, and let’s be honest, even if you don’t, it’s still a lot more words than you had at the beginning of the month, so there’s really no way to lose.

  2. Reply

    Trouble focussing? I can identify. I usually make a list of things that need fixing toward the end of the revision process and then tackle them one at a time. This can be extremely time consuming because I end up going through a lot of pages or even the entire work several times, one time for each issue.

    • Reply

      I’d love to just start out with a more structurally sound draft. Something that goes in order from beginning to end, instead of a bunch of random pieces stuck in where I thought of them. But yeah… the going back over things takes up a huge amount of time.

  3. Reply

    It sounds like you’ve found a focus structure that works for you. Mine involves notes scribbled onto PostIts and stuck onto my desk. I get a lot of pleasure out of crumpling them when I’ve accomplished whatever task each contains. Wishing you happy writing in November.

    • Reply

      Your focus structure sounds incredibly satisfying! I might have to try that, at some point.

  4. Reply

    And that is why I don’t draft quickly. I find if I take my time, when I finish the first draft, it’s more like a third draft. I like to take one project at a time that way.

    • Reply

      Thanks! I still think you should give it a try, sometime. Even if you don’t win, you wind up with a lot of words you didn’t have, before. And it’s an incredibly supportive environment. You’d be very welcome, even if you announced a lower word goal up front.

    • Reply

      No predictions? I’d love to hear them, if you are leaning one way or the other. Right now, my commenters seem to be evenly divided between expecting it to work, and just thinking I’m nuts.

  5. Reply

    I love being part of the writer’s community, as well. I think you are on to something with the “one piece of paper” approach. Write, move on. Repeat. Do report back! And good luck with NaNo.

    • Reply

      I’ll absolutely keep you informed! I’m hoping it really will cure all my bad habits, but we’ll see.

  6. Reply

    Eh, how would you transfer writing from so many pieces of paper to computer? Oh the horror! Revising is something even I am not fond of. All I can do is proof-read a multiple times. All the best with NaNoWriMo.

    • Reply

      I’ll wind up typing them in at the end of the day. As long as I stay up on it, it’s really not that much. But I do hate revision, so anything I even think might make that easier is worth a go, for me.

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