Friday, February 19, 2016

Keep Revising-- (Even If You'd Rather Pull Out Your Hair...)

It has been three months since NaNoWriMo now, and here we are, elbow deep in our manuscripts, trying to make something readable out of them. Some days it feels great to strike out entire pages of utter crap that we thought was so great in November. But the other times? You feel as if you're killing your best friend, or ruining something precious. Or maybe you'd just rather do laundry or homework than spend Quality Time with your novel.

If anyone told you that Revising was easy, you might be wanting to stab them by now for lying to you. Or you may be ready to give in and give up. Or maybe you're doing great, and revising is second nature to you (but if that's you, you don't need to read this post). But I know that it is hard to stay motivated. We are now in "The Revising Slump" that is month two. And it kind of sucks. What can we do about it?

Here are a few things to do to keep moving in the right direction with your novel.

1. Stay Motivated.
Easier said than done, right? Well, it can be done. In fact, the best way to stay motivated is to make progress on your manuscript. So, stay motivated by working on that book. Strike out that paragraph. Kill off that character. Delete that subplot that sucks. Tighten up your prose. Even if it's something small, you will feel so much better and more motivated if you Just Do It. So get started.

2. Take a Breather.
No one said you had to finish this book in 16 weeks, so stop slaving. You'll only hurt yourself, and possibly your novel. As I said above, working on your manuscript is a great way to stay motivated, but don't over do it. If you are forcing yourself to revise 20 pages a day, and begin to dread that time, then scale it back. Start with 5 pages, or 3, and get into the swing of things. You don't have to rush it. Take your time. It's better to take your time during this draft than to rush it and pump out more crap. Get it right, and go slow. If you need to, step away from it for a couple days, work on something else and come back with fresh eyes. It will do both you and your novel good.

3. Work on Something Else, Too.
For those days when you are really not feeling it, work on something else. Be it an outline for a new book, or an idea for an old one, if you have two things going at once, if you have a day (or two) in which you just can't produce anything good for this novel, turn to Plan B for a while. That way, your creative juices will remain in motion, you won't be wasting momentum by focusing on something that you have nothing for. BUT, do not do not do not use this as an excuse to give up on this novel you've written. Put it on the back burner for a couple days, okay, but don't throw it out. And always remember No. 1 of this list.

Bonus: Also, it sometimes helps to set goals for yourself, and tell others about these goals, so they can hold you accountable to them. But always, always, always, keep writing, and keep revising!

With that in mind, let us get back to our creative outlets, and Write. After all, that's what we do; we're writers, aren't we?

Also, as an update, I am now on my third draft. I am quite excited about that. I was dragging my feet for a while there, but then I just decided I was going to finish that second draft. So I revised 40 pages one day, and 50 the next, having already done the 36 before that. I am on drat 3, and loving every second. Well, every second that I can spare for it. I don't exactly get paid for revising (yet, anyway...).

Last thing. My faithful readers, I thought you might want to know of my celebration: This is my 50th post on Writerly! Thank you all for your support and constant readership. You're awesome, and you've made this journey of mine so much better. You all rock my socks.

So, Keep Revising! Better days are coming, and your book is getting better and better with every word you strike and every word you add. You've got this! 

As always, Happy Writing! And Better Revising to you all!

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