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Forums Other Discussions General Writing Writing or Revisions: Which is the Bigger Challenge for You?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Jennifer Mattern 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #27597

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    I’m just curious where some of you fall on this spectrum — do you find initial writing (your first draft) to be the biggest challenge, or are revisions more difficult for you to plow through?

    I used to think the first draft was the hardest part. But I now have two book manuscripts and a few shorter e-book manuscripts (not to mention several picture book manuscripts and a few short stories) drafted. They took time, but I got through those. Revisions are where I seem to get hung up. Don’t get me wrong. They’re on the schedule and I’m working through them. But it’s proving to be a much longer process than I expected.

    There are two problems in my own case:

    1. I think after I’ve finished the first draft, I’m simply sick of the project for a while. I have to shelf things before I can get back to them with fresh eyes. And because I always have other projects going on, sometimes it’s difficult to get back into that old frame of mind. Surprisingly, I’m having an easier time of it with fiction than with nonfiction. Maybe it has to do with my blogging and freelance work. I write and revise short-form nonfiction on such a frequent basis that maybe the longer projects feel like they’re dragging on too much. I’m used to seeing faster results.

    2. I find that I second guess myself a lot in the revision process. A revision of a longer work often turns into a near tear-down (which is why the query-free freelancer book isn’t finished after years; I keep going back and forth on certain approaches I could take, scrapping entire chapters, adding new ones that feel like a better fit, etc.). This is also an issue with the mystery I just finished writing. I’m prepping it for revisions now, and that project terrifies me. So much needs to change. It’s going to feel more like a rewrite than revising. I wasn’t happy with the way I strayed from my outline on it, so now I’m re-outlining using a different method based on what’s there and what I still want to see happen. And then the new draft will come from that. So most of the background and dialogue is there, but a lot will change.

    That is definitely my weaker area. But admitting it is how we fix things, right? :)

    What about you? What poses the bigger challenge in your writing?

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27686

    LoriWidmer
    Participant

    Revisions, without a doubt.

    I can blast through the first draft easily enough, thanks to NaNo. What I did prior to NaNo was edit as I went, which slowed me down to a halt sometimes. So I’m glad for the ability to finish. I’m not glad that finishing usually means I don’t know where to start the edits. :)

    #27696

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    That’s often how I feel. I have so many story drafts sitting around it’s not even funny. Then there’s the mystery manuscript and the nonfiction manuscript that’s been mid-revision for years because I keep flip-flopping on things. I do seem to have an easier time with fiction, which surprises me. I think the problem with nonfiction is that I can literally start anywhere because it’s not a linear story. I would have a more difficult time bouncing around in fiction, so I can work on those projects in a mostly-linear way (although the ending can be bounced around a bit because everything else depends on that).

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27704

    Cathy Miller
    Participant

    I still struggle with the edit-as-you-go. I’m waaaay better than I used to be but I think that is one of the main reasons I have so many unfinished ebooks. I get bored before it’s finished and move on to something else. Bad, very bad.

    Cathy Miller, Business Writer/Consultant
    #27707

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    Boredom sucks, doesn’t it Cathy? I do not handle boredom well.

    The edit-as-you-go thing is a toughie. Other than coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay for rough drafts to be crap, I’m afraid I can’t think of any tips or words of wisdom to make it easier.

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27717

    LoriWidmer
    Participant

    Cathy, have you tried any software? I’ve heard so much about various programs that I’m not sure if I’d get stuck in the playing phase and never finish. :) yWriter5 is a good option.

    #27866

    Sharon Hurley Hall
    Participant

    Revisions, definitely – I get bored, tired or disenchanted with the project. It’s funny, though; that only happens with my own projects – I have no problem doing client revisions.

    Professional Writer for 25+ years: Online Writing Portfolio : Writing Career Advice : Google+ Profile

    #27875

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    I’m glad it’s not just me! I feel guilty when I get bored with a project during the revision phase. This week is going to be a tough one — a lot of revisions on the table — but I’m determined to plow through. And you’re right. It does seem to happen more with my own projects. I wonder why that is!

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    #27936

    Sharon Hurley Hall
    Participant

    Because a check is a powerful motivator :)

    Professional Writer for 25+ years: Online Writing Portfolio : Writing Career Advice : Google+ Profile

    #27942

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    LOL Very true.

    Jennifer Mattern - Owner 3 Beat Media

    Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

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