Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What I Learned During My LOOOOOOOONG Break

It's terribly hard to come back to this blog. I feel many things. Shame for staying away so long, excitement to get in touch with my old writing buddies. I've missed you! And eager to connect with those new writers starting out who are in the same place I was years ago, anxiously searching the web for advice on the next step to take on their writing journey.

I wish I had some major words of wisdom that I was able to pick up while I was on hiatus, but the truth is, I'm still the same person, struggling to learn more about myself, my writing and the industry.

I did, however, learn what works the best for me while revising that I'd love to share with you just in case you didn't already know.


1) Don't move to a different state two times in a year while under a revising deadline. Ever. I'm not kidding.

2) A- Learn to say no. You're a writer so it's okay to turn off the phone and sit on your butt to write. You're not being lazy. You're working.
    B- Don't listen to others when they tell you that writing isn't a job. It's simple. If you're serious about it, it is! If you listen to the naysayers and in so doing disobey rule 2A out of self-inflicted guilt, it won't be.

3) Don't be scared of the delete button. If you're afraid of writing crap, don't save it. Later, if you find it really is as horrible as you thought it might be, use the undo button. That button became my best friend.

4) If you're doing a major scene change it's okay to just get the idea out. Just pound that sucker out on the keyboard. You can always go back and polish it later...like you did after your first draft.

5) If you're not super pumped to revise because you aren't sure the direction you want to go, just start. Those writing juices will kick in and before you know it, you won't want to stop.

6) If you find you're stuck on a paragraph for 4 hours....MOVE ON. You can always go back.

7) Don't crawl into a writing cave for so long that you're scared to come back into the light. Taking time away from social media while revising can be cathartic on many levels. But too long and you miss out on loads of wisdom (not to mention, cheering your writing buddies on in their successes). The writing world is always changing and ever evolving. When you finally decide to come back into the light, you may have to sprint to catch up, and I don't know about you, but I hate running.

Aside from my #1 are you sensing a theme here?


If you're revising, it's for a reason. You're manuscript needs tweaking. Meaning it's not perfect in the state it's in and you are allowed to change things up a bit. Don't be afraid, but always save the original version just in case you're so hopped up on caffeine one night while revising until 4 AM that you end up with pure gibberish. Yes that did happen to me more than once.

That's it folks. Wonderful wisdom imparted...of which I'm sure many of you already know and may have experienced yourself. So tell me about it. What have you had to learn the hard way about revising? 


ilima said...

That revising is a lot of work. A LOT of work, and to just take it one step at a time.

Glad to see you blogging. ;)

Stephsco said...

Sometimes you will revise the same work over and over and over. And that's OK. In case you love your words that much, make a duplicate file to save your precious words, while the new file gets hacked and slashed.

Welcome back!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice to see you back. Revising is hard, but its worth the effort. Thanks for the tips.

Carrie-Anne said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere!

I've grown to love revising, be it minor or major. In the old days, I just caked gold on top of dross, instead of excising the dross completely, or at least radically rewriting it. Another important lesson is that one shouldn't revise only for the sake of revising. That should be decided on a case by case basis, not because of a myth that everything absolutely needs radical rewriting and revising.

Tammy Theriault said...

the hardest thing I've learned is to trust your own intuition and voice above all else. everyone has an opinion but in the end your name is the one on it :) glad to see you back!

Anonymous said...

Sooooo excited to see you back!!! Revising is my least favorite part. I just want it to be perfect by magic! Wish I had some words of wisdom for ya, but all I got is surround yourself with awesome CP's and betas *cough cough* <3 <3 <3 Oh, and watch Parenthood b/c it will inspire you :-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to blogging. I'm glad you took the time off that you needed & found a way to learn some lessons, thanks for sharing :)

K. L. Hallam said...

Welcome back! You were missed. :)
I'm revising a new MG, after putting my heart and soul aside for now. (another ms )
Your tips are stupendous. I am learning how invaluable my beta readers are. Wow--I couldn't do this in any increments without them.

Can wait to hear more wisdom from you, Dana. :D

Trisha said...

Welcome back, Deana!

I am currently revising by editing in paper. Last night I read through nearly a whole section at the end of a chapter, before deciding to just cut the whole thing out. It really wasn't needed.

It felt scary but good. :)

amy kennedy said...

Yay, yay, yay! You're back. I am not even kidding, two, maybe three days ago, I checked on this (your) blog, just to see if maybe I had missed something...and now here you are.

I am so happy you are back.

Revising? Pfft. I'm still stuck in first draft mode. But sounds like you have been to the depths of it. Can't wait to hear more. Yay!

Tara Tyler said...

how nice to hear from you!
and excellent advice!
keep going and writing is definitely a job, even if it doesn't pay so much...

have a great weekend!

Karen M. Peterson said...

Welcome back! I hope this isn't a one-time deal!

Leslie S. Rose said...

Welcome back hug. Revising is a full time job - couple that with life and there isn't a whole lot of room for much else. My blogging had really lapsed. I'm doing the A to Z challenge to give it a kick in the pants.

John Krissilas said...

Welcome back! And don't apologize, revising is serious work and it's okay to focus on getting'er done for a while. Glad you made it through with your sanity!

I always save a new version of my MS each new day of revising/re-writing, no matter what. That way I can always go back in time to see how things looked before, if needed. I'm currently on version 50. Yikes!


Alex Villasante said...

Hey Deana!
Welcome back, we missed you!
What I've learned about revising is that if I do a 'little' plotting before throwing myself into a WIP I can save time on the revising later. I found myself revising for things that were elemental - and taking much too long to make the pieces fit cohesively. So I guess I realized that some plotting is good for a pantser. And that whatever works for one writer, might not work for another.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

It's so nice to see you back, Deana! Revising (until your fingers bleed!) is such a witch to do, but necessary. Give me a holler if you ever need someone to complain to ;) The biggest thing I've learned about revising is that...you just have to do it. No way around it, no matter how much complaining you do...and I've done my fair share *le sigh*

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