Tuesday Tips – Revision is a Momentum-Killer

One of the challenges I face in my writing career is that of momentum. It can easily be summarized with Newton’s First Law = An object at rest remains at rest, an object in motion remains in motion.

I am very much a momentum writer. I wrote my short novel Fishpunk in 5 weeks. It doesn’t take me more than a day or two to get a head of steam, pounding out whatever my daily target happens to be, and doing it regularly. The problem comes when I reach the end of the story.

Once a novel is finished, something has to change. Either another novel starts, or revision has to begin. Which I do depends on what irons are in the fire at any given time. Inevitably, revision has to start eventually, and that is a momentum-killer for me.

Revision is hard because the benchmarks are less clear. There is less of a feeling of progress, and what progress is made tends to be inconsistent. Some sections require very little modification, and in those sections the pages fly by. Other areas require quite a bit of work, and it becomes a slog. Six pages might be a legitimate day’s accomplishment.

For me, it’s difficult to maintain momentum after the writing phase ends. I’ve found that creating a daily target page count helps to pull me through the revision process. It also helps to have some time elapse between writing and revising because it makes the material new again, almost as if somebody else wrote it. And for sure, spotting problems in somebody else’s work is much easier than finding it in your own.

In my experience, more often than not finishing revision is simply a matter of making up my mind that it has to be done and then doing it. Revision for me is less enjoyable than creation, but both jobs are necessary to produce good copy, be it fiction or non-fiction.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Got something to say? Go at it!