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Revisions are a Bummer but...

They truly are where the magic happens.

I know I say I'm on the third (fourth, fifth? I don't know anymore) round of revisions of my book but in all seriousness, it feels like I'm working on the song that never ends. I scribble and slice, type and frantically delete. Insulting myself and my forbears every step of the way. You wouldn't believe the awful things I say to me!

Actually, you might. I'm willing to bet you have a been quite savage with your writer self as well. I mean, who do you/I think you/I are/am? (<<That's pretty ugly, isn't it? Yikes.) Some kind of "WRITER" or something? (Do we prefer quotation marks and all caps or italics to indicate sarcasm? Think about this.)

There are days when I can't stand the idea of working on my story. I look for other things to do besides opening Scrivener. (The project management tool I use. I love you. You might not. You use whatever system works for you.) And let me tell you, it is rough when cleaning the baseboards is more appealing than spending one single minute with my characters. I'm not very gracious with myself in avoidance mode - no matter how productive I am in other endeavors. Do the baseboards need cleaning? Yes. Do the dogs needs baths? Yes. Do the toilets need scrubbing? Yes. Etc. Etm. Ad Infinitum. Ad Nauseum.

Why do I hurl abuses at myself about whatever I'm doing, regardless of how productive? I'll tell you why. Because in some small part of my psyche, I do not think I am good enough at any thing to be proud of my efforts. Whether this is an infantile id holdover or a product of superego conditioning, I have no idea. The point is I need to extend myself the same leeway I extend to others for not living up to some cockamamie construct of perfection.

But what does this have to do with revisions? Nine times out of ten, (let's face it - some days simply aren't excellent) when I fire up the ol' Dell and open that Scrivener folder to do the work, after about 3 minutes, I am re-excited about my story. I fall in love with my characters all over again. I feel the thick, Alabama sun beating down on my shoulders and theirs. I smell the catfish frying and hear it popping. My heart races as I become them and they become me. Sure, I mutter to myself and fling pens across the room. But I am engaged and care about what's happening.

And suddenly, hours have passed and my story is better. I've travelled through time and space, created something new. I have conjured and wrought. I have grown as a writer and know my story, and myself, more intimately than I did before sitting at my desk. So, revisions? Yeah, those are just polishing the lamp before releasing the genie.

I'll keep rubbing away at the blemishes until my book is ready to work its magic on readers.

You should do the same.

Disclaimer: Every writer has UFO bits floating around, whether in a notebook or digital folder. Those UnFinishedObjects are not signs of failure or wastes of time. They are exploration and discovery. Snapshots buried in a drawer. There may come a day when those thoughts inspire you again; they may not. Keep them. Revisit them when you're avoiding something else. You may surprise yourself.

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