Revision Rocks, Revision Sucks

This is going to be a whiny post about the revision side of writing, a result of finishing the fourth draft of my short story about gay witches, which, for the most part, is an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, it is a soul-sucking, energy-draining process that makes me question if there is an end in sight.

My current state of being (or past state, even)

See, continuing with the example of this story, the big changes are done, but not to the best standard. Right now, the story feels like a mess of great bits, okay bits, and skeleton bits that still need more layers of skin on them. And when it feels like it is more of a mess than a story nearing completion, you wonder whether you will actually get it to where you want it to be.

My usual solution would be another rewrite, but it seems those are no longer needed. Line edits is the next step, for pacing, detail, ensuring my voice is consistent throughout, maybe add in a scene or two, but when you’re someone who rushes through (the end of) rewrites and then rushes through copy-edits without any real nitty-gritty, picking-things-apart stage, the idea of those kind of edits makes my impatience crawl out of the darkness and rear its ugly head.

Because most of the sucking part of revision for me comes from impatience. At the start, things go well, but then various things come to mind: fear of failure, fear of never making progress, feeling as though you aren’t working hard enough, feeling as though it must be perfect, which is something I blogged about as well. When those thoughts latch on, getting rid of them becomes the annoying focus.

The clearest solution for this story will be forcing myself through a slow line edit, adjusting it as many times as possible before sending it off to a sensitivity reader, followed by several more edits and adjustments before finally sending it off to magazines.

Although, when anxiety does creep in, sometimes the excitement and passion is strong enough to overwhelm the former, especially when reading over certain passages, such as:

As a girl of ten, she wore sheep-fur and boots stuffed with cheap scraps of cloth, disappearing within the layers. Snow crunched under her, soaking her ankles and calves as she watched her mother, a woman with chestnut hair and blue eyes, wade deeper into Nyx, a lake known for its glow at night. A glow that lit the way now, spotlighting the odd flurries that fell from the clear sky.

Posts such as this one by Rachel Swirsky tend to help as well, knowing that published authors are all in the same boat, tweaking things and creating draft after draft, something that will be worth remembering when I, and other authors, start to stumble down a path of self-doubt.

Venting this post has helped, almost making me feel one-hundred percent about approaching these line edits. Almost. 

What are your feelings on revising? Or what are the more difficult parts of the writing process for you, whether it be planning, writing, or editing?

6 thoughts on “Revision Rocks, Revision Sucks

  1. Didi Oviatt - Author says:

    I hear ya! I actually enjoy revisions, just because it’s nice to feel productive and still creative… It’s the final founds of editing that I loath! A little too tedious for my taste. Like, it’s kind of my vice *face palm*

  2. jennavive72 says:

    Sometimes the hardest part of writing to me is the whole trying to think of something to write. I spend more time just thinking about what to write amd brainstorming then actually writing stuff down. I have found that keeping up on my blog has helped a bit with that and is disciplining me to make a habit of writing.

    • Kat says:

      Ah, I can imagine that could be frustrating! Yes, agreed. Blogging has been a good way to find inspiration/motivation to get writing—especially when you see other writers doing the same.

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