Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goals During the Revision Process?

I go to work every day, alone. If I don't show up, nobody knows. Nobody will know if I write ten words today, or ten thousand.

So setting goals really helps me to stay on task and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Having goals while writing a first draft is easy. You shoot for a particular word count, write your 3000 words and get on with the rest of your day.

Revision is a whole other animal. When I do the first revision, I usually shoot for a minimum of 25 pages a day. That gets me through the first draft in a week or two. Check. But when I'm working on the second or third pass, having goals becomes impossible. Well, it becomes impossibly frustrating. Getting down to the nitty gritty of the story, finalizing events and character motivations, tying up loose threads - these things can take time. I have four items on my final edits list for my current WIP, Double Back. On Monday, I set a goal to have the manuscript ready for submission by Friday. With my self-imposed deadline looming, I have once again underestimated the amount of time it's going to take me to finish.

I suppose the only way to go at this point is to set a daily goal. What's my goal for today? I want to say that I'll read through my entire manuscript today. Or that I'll finish the four items on my to-do list. But how long will it take me to read through it? How long will it take me to do just one item on that list? I have no idea. Because they're complicated changes. One change might take five minutes - or five days.

I suppose the only thing to do is dive in and hope for the best. I'll let you know how it goes!

Anyone else out there feeling frustrated about revision?


  1. I'm more than frustrated. It struck me the other day that I've been rewriting the same thing. It's been a vicious cycle that needs to stop ASAP. Unless the change is major I need to end the process and start submitting. Love the goals you have set for yourself, and you're right to do so. When we write alone, we are most accountable to ourselves.

  2. I know exactly what you mean, Sharon! You really can make yourself completely crazy trying to get everything 'just so'!


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