After months of getting rejections for my novella, this past week, I got a revise and resubmit. I was just about to begin revisions on my seventh book, and this – though good news – meant that I’d have to revise my novella as well.
I was feeling overwhelmed. Anxious. Because no matter how many times you receive revisions – in whatever form you receive them in – they never get easier.
I’ve written about my love/hate relationship with revisions before. But because I’m the positive sort (or at least try to be), I thought I’d share how I get through revisions to help you do the same.
1. Take Your Time Going Through Them
When I get revisions from my editor, my first reaction is to scan through them to determine the extent of the damage. Most of the time, this makes me even more anxious. I worry about how to approach them. Will I be able to make these changes? How can I do that when they mean changing aspects of the story that I love? And if I make these changes, will my editor like them?
At this point, I force myself to calm down and go through them slowly. I write down the suggestions, and then write down my response to them. Usually, this is kind of a brainstorming session for me. And by the end of this session, I’m already feeling better. Calmer. If I have any questions, I’ll check in with my editor or a writer friend. And then I get started.
2. Tackle Them In Stages
Writing a book is overwhelming. So is revising one. But just as a book is written in stages, so should revising one be. Keeping in mind when I need to submit the revisions (or the new draft), I set goals for myself to keep to my deadlines. Generally, those goals are in the form of pages. This makes things seem more doable than having to go through the entire book. Which, in turn, makes me resent the revisions much less!
If you’ve received a revise and resubmit, remember that the publisher is showing interest in your work. If their feedback is vaguer than you would have liked, it’s because they’d like to see how you’ll respond to these revisions. This can contribute to their decision to offer you a contract. Taking your time to figure out the best way to approach their feedback is pivotal. And setting goals and tackling the revisions in stages are going to ensure that you get back to them, and get your contract ?