Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The Insecure Writer and the Revision Process
Today is February's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
I’ll be honest with you. If my monthly post for the Insecure Writers Support Group wasn’t due today, I probably wouldn’t have posted. Embarrassment can do that to you.
Last week I promised I would finish the initial revision of my first chapter by the end of the weekend -- no matter what. Well, it’s Wednesday, and I still haven’t finished. It’s almost there, probably about 99% complete, but it’s not finished. (Hangs head in shame)
I wish I could say it was because I didn’t spend enough time with my manuscript or that I didn’t stay up late enough or that drinking was involved – but that wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t come up with any good ways to fix a few problem areas. I find it maddening (and slightly ridiculous) that I’ve been screwing around with these same fourteen pages for over three weeks now -- with most of that time spent on the first two paragraphs. At this rate, my kids will be published authors before I finish this story.
The funny part about all this is that the idea of revising and polishing and tightening my manuscript sounds kind of sexy to me – at least in theory. I occasionally have to write computer programs, and like a lot of programmers, once the program is behaving properly I have an almost irresistible urge to go in and tighten up the code. Removing useless bits of code, converting ten lines of code into two, improving the user interface. Stuff like that. It just gives me a warm cozy feeling.
But that’s because I know what I’m doing when I program. But until my writing skills improve, it’s always going to be a struggle when it’s time to revise my manuscript. I can tell (usually) when something needs to be fixed, I’m just bad at coming up with ways to actually fix the problem.
Does anyone else have these kind of problems during the revision process?