March 12, 2013

NaCreSoMo #10: Revision is HARD

Why yes, I'm a few days behind. Chalk that up to spending a lot of time catching up with friends and family, and not enough time with my nose to the grindstone.

I've finally hit just a little bit of a groove with the revisions for NEEDS A BETTER CODE NAME, so I'll keep this brief. Suffice to say that right now I'm working on revising a rough draft into at least a semblance of what it ought to be. I've (mostly) broken myself of the habit of thinking that everything I write needs to be lovely and perfect the first time out. What I'm working on now is convincing myself that even a revision need not be perfect.

And it's true. The first few chapters of NEEDS A BETTER CODE NAME have been drafted, revised, workshopped, and then revised again. I have no doubt that as I continue working on the project, I'll make yet more changes. But this is the mental challenge I've been working on recently--the idea that "revision" doesn't necessarily mean final draft.

I can definitely get obsessive over revising. I've been known to spend upwards of thirty minutes on one or two sentences, changing words, rewriting, fiddling, over and over and over again. Nowadays, I try to remind myself that everything can be changed. That revision doesn't mean that something is broken--it means that I have an opportunity to make things better. That nothing has to be perfect this time around. There's always next time, and the time after.

Today I'm doing what I can, without obsessing over it. I'm not aiming for perfection. This time around I'm aiming for "good enough" to share without feeling a twinge of embarrassment over the work.

Line of the day: "The gods had no tenders now. Were they lonely, to be alone where once they were surrounded?"


  1. I'm glad that you're going to go out of your comfort zone and post not-edited-a-thousand-times materials. I'll look forward to some unfinished writing!

    1. Oh, you are definitely not seeing unfinished writing. Not that I don't want to show it to you, but there are digital rights issues re: future publication.

      I'm hoping to work on some less "for publication" writing in the future that could go up on the blog... In the meantime, the stuff I'm working on regrettably for off-line sharing only.

  2. I took the the "tenders" reference in your line of the day a whole other way at first. Made me smile. Your attitude towards revision is inspiring. I tend to go big and then delete, delete, delete.

    1. Ah, it's mostly the attitude I WISH I had toward revision. And I managed to reprogram my first-drafting philosophy fairly well, so I'm hoping that these new revision thoughts fall into place too.

      And really, it's whatever gets the job done, right?