Bite-Sized Battle

I’m going to take a small break from all the Possession promo stuff today to talk about something else, something that happened to me recently that I think a lot of people have gone through. And I mean that. By no means do I think I’m alone on this. Tell me if you’ve been through some variation on this before.

So, a while ago I asked a few friends to help me out by reading and critiquing Where The Ether Flows, the first book of my Necromantic trilogy. I’ve since gotten in some of the feedback, enough that I was ready to move forward on revisions. Or so I thought.

I was going to start last week, as soon as I finished outlining Eleene’s novella. That novella is set in the Necromantic world, and I thought the outline would be a nice warm up for revisions. You know, get my head back into it.

I should have known better than to think. Right now, in the lead up to Possession’s launch in two weeks, I’m not good at that thinking thing, not about my own stuff at least.

Anyway, when I sat down to work on WTEF and utilize the notes I’d received, I wanted to cry. Seriously. I think my brain did cry. And scream. I fought to move forward anyway because, well, I’m stubborn and headstrong like that. I refuse to lie down for anything, even when I should.

I was a mess about everything, because the doubt that I could do the revisions bled into everything, including stuff I’d sworn I wasn’t going to angst about anymore because they were done and out of my hands. It got WAY out of hand is what I’m saying.

By the way, I’d like to thank my friends for being there for me, instead of punting me in the ass the way I’m sure they wanted to. Looking back on it, I want to go back a punch myself out for that. Seriously. You know who you are and I love you so much. I’m sorry about all that. I will TRY not to do it again, really.

So I did something just about unheard of for me. I took the whole weekend off. I wasn’t on Twitter that much, mostly responding to @’s and direct messages. But more, I didn’t work on writing except for a couple Saul ideas that hit me. I did stuff a million miles from writing: watched Supernatural (I’m late to that party, but boy am I glad I joined) and playing video games. I felt a bit better by the end of Sunday, and certainly less like crying. Thank you VERY MUCH to the dear friends who suggested the break. You are all BRILLIANT. Certainly more so than I am.

So on Monday, I came back to trying to deal with revisions on WTEF, only I felt different about it. Like I could do it, for one thing, and like I knew how to move forward. See, part of the problem is that I got conflicting feedback I had to sort through (okay, that happens, I can deal) but also, it felt like I had so much work to do on it and I didn’t even know where to begin. That was pretty much just my perception, but it (and a few other things going on at the same time) broke something very important. My confidence.

Let me be very clear. This didn’t happen because of the comments themselves, which were supportive and aimed at helping me make Devan’s story the best it can be. It happened because I got overwhelmed by the perceived scope of work I had to do. It was all about me. I am still very grateful to my betas and for their insights and time. I know what I need to do and that is partly because of them.

But I still needed to get that confidence back, and I was sure the way I was going to deal with the revisions would help me do it. How? Because my plan involved taking it piece by piece, accomplishing one thing and then moving to the next.

I started out by marking where in the manuscript I needed to make the changes that would solve the problems raised. Even then, it was small bits. Take one problem and make comments in the manuscript on what needed to be done in the places it had to happen. Then take the next problem, and so on. That’s as far as I’ve gotten, but I’m telling you, even doing that much helped immensely.

Breaking it down into bite-sized pieces helped me feel less overwhelmed by it all, but the successive achievements also helped me rebuild that broken confidence. It’s not back all the way, but I know where I need to make changes in the manuscript, and how. More than that, I expect getting myself though this round will mostly fix it. I’ll have to let you know.

I see a lot of writers talk about being afraid of revisions, about all the work that goes into it. Yes, it’s a lot of work, especially the first round of it, but if you can break it down and focus on the piece in front of you, it’s not so scary. Just try to keep in mind that you want to make your book the best it can be and that’s what revisions are about, making it better, one round at a time.


About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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6 Responses to Bite-Sized Battle

  1. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ve had that feeling more often than I care to admit. 😉 Revisions can be tough, and now, as I work on the complete rebuild of one manuscript, I’ll find out which is harder—revision or rebuild!

    We all need a break from intense activities now and again, even those we love. But those breaks help us past roadblocks and get inspired again. And that’s a good thing. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Having done both, I’m still not sure which is harder. They’re both hard in different ways, in my experience.

      And yes, next time I’ll listen better to my brain when it’s showing signs of needing a break. 🙂

  2. Celtic Forest Dweller says:

    A little late on this because I was doing just what you’re talking about this last week — revisions! And I did take it bit by bit because I WAS totally overwhelmed… So I made a list of things that needed to be done, and in the manuscript I highlighted particular parts to deal with in different colors. It was so wonderful to finally have a plan! Plus, super rewarding to slowly but surely get rid of all those smatterings of color all over the pages. 😛

    Good for you for taking a break, as well! Sometimes I get overwhelmed or just burnt out, and taking a week or two off does wonders. You always go at a faster pace than the rest of us, so I guess a couple days is your equivalent. 😉

  3. Pete Denton says:

    I’ve found revisions a nightmare in the past, but now I enjoy them as much as the writing itself.

    Taking a weekend off is good. I haven’t written a word since July NaNo finished. I may have taken too long! Happy writing and revising 🙂

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