3 Ways to Convince yourself to Revise
The act of revising a story or novel is either exciting and productive or slow and tedious. It depends on the person. In some cases, trying to convince yourself to revise is difficult. Believe me, I know from experience and so do many other writers. There will always be people out there, you may be one of them, who loves the revision part. Taking the already crafted story and cleaning it up into a pristine and sparkly state can be a thrilling thing for some writers and, well, editors.
However, I find the process frustrating at times. This is even harder if the first draft was difficult to get through to begin with. Especially if I then have to cut a lot for everything to work.
Now, here's the thing, I actually don't mind writing first drafts. It's difficult, but it can be fun. If you are a pantser like myself, someone who just writes by the seat of their pants, its fun to meet the characters for the first time along with the world and setting. It's exciting to be on the ride with the characters as if you were in the story yourself. I enjoy being surprised with where the story will go, who will meet who or how people will react. (Probably why I really enjoy D&D because that has NO script for the players.)
However, what I don't like is when I get to the end, when the story is 'completed' and then I have to go back through and hack away at it and polish it.
To be honest, whether it's artwork or writing, the polishing stage is the most excruciating for me to work on. I don't fully know why, maybe it's because it involves a ridiculous amount of patience or it's very nit-picky. To be honest, it doesn't fully matter. What matters is that I often have to convince myself to go through it and get it done.
So how do you go about convincing yourself to revise your story?
Well, there are a couple ideas you can try:
1) Put the story down for a few weeks and pick it up later.
We all love our stories in one way or another. We all want what's best for our characters, (Irrespective of whatever actually HAPPENS to them in the story itself.) But we also can get tired out from working with them or, in some cases, forcing them to work for us as we try to craft the story. (They really like to run away sometimes.) As a result, if we try to push ourselves to revise, we might just bull-rush through it and not actually revise properly, wasting time and energy. On top of this, when we revise in a state where we've already been working on the story for a while, we'll miss important things and just find ourselves frustrated and disheartened.
So, to avoid the burn-out and frustration, it's best to just put the story down for a bit and come back to it later. There is no shame in it and many writers utilize this technique.
2) Read something else that isn't your story.
It can be another one of your stories, it can be a grammar book or a full blown series. It's just important to step away and do a quick jaunt in another area before coming back.
This works very similar to the one above, but is much quicker and probably better if you are on a time limit. I won't go over the pros and cons, because they are fairly similar to the one's above this, but they will give you an idea on what to look for or try.
A good example is the fact that I was stuck on one of my stories, frustrated in figuring out how to fix up a section. I decided to read something else, flipping between fanfiction and one of my other stories. It gave me enough time away and a moment to breath allowing me to get back into the swing of what I was doing.
3) You can also just sit down and do it.
I know, this sounds ludicruous. After all, if you could just 'do it' then you wouldn't be reading this. However, sometimes, contrary to what I mentioned earlier, when you have something fresh in your mind, you should clean it up. After all, you are on a roll. Instead of saying, crap, I need to revise, instead say, 'alright, it's time to flesh out this journey/story.' After all, when revising, you want to work on the big stuff first. So, pick something you really want to fix or change or enhance and clean that one up. Once you do that, just follow the flow and you'll find yourself revising before you know it. (I've had to do this method a few times when I was on a short time limit for my editor.)
If you take it in smaller chunks, like a couple pages at a time, you'll find it much easier to handle and will find yourself more likely to continue.
If all these still don't work, than just give it up for now and put it to the side to work on something else. If you've lost all passion in that first project and can't find any reason (Even after you give it time) to get back to it, than place it in a folder and move on. This isn't the most recommended, but sometimes sacrifices are necessary as you're learning and growing.
Personally, I've had to do exactly this before, even after editing a story multiple times. There are just some stories that aren't meant to be and that is perfectly alright.
So, now that you know some of the ways I convince myself to revise. (I know, some of these ideas are self-explanatory, but even the most basic things are often necessary reminders. It's easy to forget the basics, I know I have.) It's time for you to go out there and convince yourself to fix up your stories.
So, what are some of the methods you use to convince yourself to revise? I would love to hear them.
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Julie Boglisch is a prolific author. At the age of twenty-eight she has already created and published multiple works. Her second series, The Elifer Chronicles, received a glowing Kirkus Review. She is an artist both in character art and cover design and is the creator of her own covers for her works.