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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

On writing: what about revision paralysis?

The last writing post was all about having so many ideas that you're not sure which step to take.

While I don't run into that problem as much anymore, I do run into it a bit with revision. Somehow, when faced with changing something (even if it's really not a big deal, and even if I already wrote most of it in my notebook, and even if it's far more painful to not-write than it is to actually write), I can be counted upon to find six million other things (sand, in the old "put the big rocks in first" story) to take precedence.

Yeah, I know, it's called procrastination...sort of. And procrastination is often about fear - that writing isn't as valuable as other, more tangible pursuits. Even though I know, in my head and in my heart, that words are perhaps the most valuable treasures in human existence.

What do you do when you get stuck? Have you found a way to trick your brain into loving revision? If so, I'd like to hear about it!

(Comic by Natalie Dee.)

2 comments:

  1. Oh my, this is timely for me! I think revisions are even harder than first drafts in terms of getting momentum. One thing that helps me is reading and re-reading the manuscript. I start to see things I urgently want to fix, ideas start percolating, and I discover that my beloved story will be much healthier if I will just get busy and see to its needs! ; ) But it's still hard. The six million other things always scoot up to the front burner and try to take all my attention. Thanks for posing the question. I look forward to reading others' ideas!

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  2. Terrific, Molly - I'm glad it was helpful! Just knowing someone else has similar challenges as mine does that for me. In the end I got through that revision with good readers who made astute suggestions, gave myself time to think about how to address the problems, did a lot of thinking and inquiring, and finally just gave myself a deadline to get. it. done. Whew.

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