Monday, May 16, 2011


As I work through revision and come to the slow realization that large parts of this book are going to need to be rewritten (or scrapped altogether), I have thought about my identity as a writer.

It sounds like a weird thing to consider while I am revision, but it feels natural. Revision is the place a lot of books go to die. Finishing a book feels easy when you compare it to actually taking that same book and spiffing it up into something worthy of publication.

Revision feels like you're playing for keeps. You're not just writing a book, throwing it in a drawer, and writing another. Revision is a way of declaring on no uncertain terms you want other people to read this book. And if you want to have a writing career, you have to learn how to both write well and revise efficiently.

As I patiently work though the story and make my notes of where I failed the story, where the plot falls apart (where the plot stops existing altogether) I have thought about where I see myself in a a few years. For some reason, picturing myself revising another book make revising this book easier.

Because it's become part of my life and my identity. I don't think that writing is all you should ever do with your life, because sometimes you change and it might go away. I think people should read broadly, and live wildly, and take time to do things with their friends and family. You can't write about life if you aren't living. 

But being a writer is partially how I identify myself, how I see myself. I see myself a more a writer than a massage therapist (my day job). I like helping people get out of pain, but someday I am going to quit that job in favor of writing full time.

Thinking about myself as a writer, and taking that part of myself seriously makes it easier for me to slog through this revision. It's frustrating and depressing thinking that large parts of this book will need to be rewritten, but you know what?

That's what writers do. And I am a writer.


  1. Amen. Revising is such a hard place to be in. Although, now that I think about it, querying is hard, and the agented people i talk to say that being on submission is murderous for self esteem, so I guess all of it is hard.
    Good luck with your revising. I'm sure you'll whip this story into shape.

  2. That IS what writers do. It took me a long time to accept that, because I get SO stuck in my "this is my plot. this is how I wrote it. this is how it will stay" mode. Yanno? But I had to get over it when I revised that first book. THANKFULLY I had amazeballs CPs to push me over it...

    Good luck with your revising/rewriting :)

  3. Rena: Yes, that's an extremely good point. Every stage is hard. Every single one. I think I balk at revision sometimes because it feels like I am getting closer to the end.

    Sara: Ohhhh sweetie, I have that problem with every book I write. I get SO attached to the way I wrote things down it's hard to imagine it another way. My first response is NO WAY and then I think about it for a little while. Sometimes I change things and sometimes I don't.

    I should blog about that. Thanks!

  4. "You're not just writing a book, throwing it in a drawer, and writing another." Um, I never do that. Nuh-uh. A short story, sure, but a book? Too much time investment to me.

    However, I discovered that the best way to get me in the revision groove is to beta read for someone else. It's almost like I shifted gears.

    At this point, I'm waiting (and expecting very soon - like a phone call in 20 minutes) for feedback from one last friend before, hopefully, final revision. Then the scary part - queries - and focusing on my next book.

    But before that, a cruise. And an anniversary. Whoo-hoo!

  5. Linda: that is an EXCELLENT point! And HUZZAH for final revisions! And congrats on cruise and anniversary!