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.