A lot of my learning is through revising my novels, and sometimes I get to a point where I feel like I just can’t put any more hours into a project. Especially when it seems that there’s still so much more revision work to be done. The questions I’m trying to address are huge, because they usually involve rethinking the whole novel:
“How do I make my character stay real through the whole story?"
“How will I change the tone of the novel to match the ideas behind the plot?”
“How can I work on the pacing to make the entire novel more compelling?
None of them are quick fixes I can pull off in a couple of hours. To make matters worse, sometimes I get to a point where I can’t even tell if the changes I’m making are an improvement. [Usually that’s the time to take a break.] Am I really learning anything?
The feeling of not getting anywhere can be overwhelming. This week I really appreciated Shannon Messenger’s honest vlog about how, even after she got her agent, she considered quitting: Shannon Messenger Takes the Truth
I've considered quitting more than once this year, but I always end up persevering. Why? Part of it is because of the people cheering me on – my writing buddies and my family. Part of it comes from those small signs that I’m making progress – requested revisions, feedback from my crit group or beta readers. But ultimately, it comes down to me. If I didn’t have the drive to continue, the outside support wouldn’t be enough.
Writing is so embedded in my life that I don’t think I could stop. I also really hate to give up on anything. I even have visions of going back to those drawer novels one day and fixing them up. I always feel like I know I can do it, and this latest revision might be the one that helps me move closer towards my goal.