Oh, revision. I really don’t like you. It’s not enough that I did this a million times before submitting to the agent. Now I have revisions from my editor. While I am deeply grateful for the suggestions and comments, once I am done with a project I really want to be done. I’m not good at revisiting. I alternately cringe at some things I find in the document–I wrote that? Ugh–and despair over making it better, or I think, I’ll just go watch an Amazon prime video instead. But, like taxes, revision must be done.
I know writers who get stuck in an endless loop of revision before they even submit their work. To me, some is fine. You do want to submit your best work. But you can get pretty wrapped around the axle with reviison, and tinker things to death. Maybe because I write documents for a living, I know when it’s time for me to move on. The magic disappears if you fuss too much. I don’t end up with millions of drafts, that’s what I’m saying.
I also know writers who perfect every paragraph before they move on to the next. I admire this, but I can’t do it. My works in progress are terribly messy, and I end up doing a ton of cut and paste to finish up. It’s just a matter of style. I have a backpacking partner who is incredibly neat and organized. Everything is just so. She has stuffsacks for stuffsacks. She folds her tent. Meanwhile, to her I am a hot mess, cramming stuff in wihthout regard for placement. I am always, always ready to hike before she is. No way is better.
Advice on revision? You just need to slog through it. If I were to give any advice, I would say not to get too hung up on it. A writer friend of mine was told to come up with the right saying for when her character got off his horse to answer a call of nature. Should it be pee, take a leak, urinate? Those kinds of things make me laugh, but if an editor asks for it, you’d better do it. I don’t think a reader much cares sometimes, but then again, repeating phrases gets annoying (I admit, I tried to read Fifty Shades of Grey and I couldn’t get past all the lip biting and hair raking that was going on. That book could have used a good editor. Then again, she made millions. What does that say about modern readers?).
Okay folks, I am just procrastinating and must dive back into revision. It will pay off. I think.