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The Mid-Revise Meltdown

Its 8pm on a Sunday night. I’ve been in front of my computer since 2pm. I’m revising my short story collection at the moment. My goal for the afternoon was to apply the last changes to the revised manuscript. I finished that task, and then decided to do a final readthrough of the whole book (its a very short book). As it turned out, I ended up making some significant changes to the first story in the book.

Everything was going well. I was excited. The afternoon wore on, and time started running out. Before I knew it it was dinnertime. Panic set in, as well as a looming sense of incompletion. By 8pm, I was in tears.

I despise the incomplete nature of writing in general. I hate stories being in pieces. A big idea or change is exciting at first, but then the impact if that change, and the state of incompleteness it leaves the story, is often traumatizing for me. I’m clearly in the wrong game.

No matter how amazingly transformative to the story these big changes are, I don’t handle them very well. Especially when its to a book I’ve previously finished and published. I feel like I’m pulling apart something that is perfectly complete. The perfectionist in me HATES that.

And then I feel scared that in trying to make the book better, I’ve actually made it worse.

This revise has been on my to-do list for months. I haven’t raced to do it. I’d much rather be working on something fresh and new. But the book needs a revise, and I want a book I can feel truly confident about.

I’m trying to sprint through this, whilst also doing a thorough job. But like the process of writing a book, the revise is a marathon, NOT a sprint.

After a few tears, I have reviewed my efforts for the day. I listed the small accomplishment of the day: I got the changes made to the last few stories in the collection. That is what I set out to do, and I did it.

When undertaking such a big task as writing or revising a story, its so important to recognize the little achievements. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when the end seems so far off.

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