Having been through the revision process a number of times, I think I know why it drives me crazy: it isn’t orderly. It isn’t as simple as tidying up my desk. No matter what my inner optimist says, revision is messy. A manuscript in mid-revision is chaotic.
In most areas of my life, I can deal with messy for maybe a day or two until I have to put things in order. Living in chaos for any length of time just makes me nuts. That’s why I rush through my revisions. I’m about halfway through this one, weeks ahead of schedule. In a way, that’s great, but there’s danger in revising too quickly.
I almost missed a really good plot point, something that was there in the background and had tons of untapped potential: for conflict, tension, emotion. So this morning, and for as long as it takes, I’m writing that thread into the foreground. My story will be richer for it.
Revision is like cleaning a floor. You can throw away the old rug by the back door. You can shine up the surface with vinegar, water, and a mop. But sometimes you just gotta get in there on your hands and knees and scrub the baseboards.
Today, I’m on my knees.