I’m not going to lie. I’m basically writing this article because I failed at this, miserably, and I want to prevent others from making the same mistake.
Once upon a time, I wrote a book. The moment I was inspired to write it, I knew it was more special than my other books. Not that I don’t love my other books, I do, but some stories leap out at you and steal your soul from your body. Others are just fun to write. And this book felt like the “one.” The one that would lead me to my next step in my career, the one my readers would love the most, the one that I could spend years in writing sequels or spin-offs or short story extras.
With unattainable excitement, I sat down and wrote. I cranked out the first draft in less than a month, and I spent a couple months rewriting and editing. I worked with betas and rewrote some more. I loved it. I thought others would, too. So, I started submitting. Sure enough, a couple people did love it! Yay! But then, I was asked to revise.
So I revised. I revised a lot. I revised until I forgot which version I was writing.
That’s when my emotions got messy. Sometimes, I would mess up versions, or backtrack too much, or be too set in one scene to try something new again. Sometimes, revision notes came back contradictory, and other times, the notes didn’t match my vision at all. But I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity…which caused me to learn a hard lesson. See my past article: Should You Revise and Resubmit? I was spending every moment of my writing time revising. Meanwhile I was watching some of my awesome writer friends get agents and book deals with pieces of work before they had to revise anything again. And I wasn’t getting any promises from anyone.
I was spinning in circles, but I couldn’t stop myself.
I believed in my work so much. I loved the story endlessly. And every writer in the world will tell you that revising is part of the process, that every good book will find a home, that every writer willing to work hard will find friends and fans and supporters. But I just…wasn’t. I was beginning to feel a little crazy when the inevitable “Your writing is spot-on, your idea is so imaginative, and I loved it…but not enough. Send me your next piece.” would come in.
My next piece? I would think. What next piece? I had been so busy revising this piece for everyone for so long that I had completely disregarded my next piece.
I forgot to give myself time to create.
I forgot to be a writer, not just someone who is revising or editing.
No wonder I was so miserable.
I spent almost the entire year revising and editing one book. As long as it was a better version that remained true to my story, I believed I was heading in the right direction. And while I still think I was heading in the right direction, I should’ve given myself time and space elsewhere. Granted, if I were 100% honest, I wrote half of another book, and I outlined/researched a couple awesome ideas, but all of those projects inevitably got pushed aside to edit this one, special book.
That book is still my special book. I love it with all my heart. In fact, I still don’t know if I’ll ever love another book this much again, but my love for it doesn’t have to be defined by others’ love for it. I can love it, whether or not anyone gets to read it in the future. And something I’m unsure about might be something others fall head over heels for. The “one” (if there is such a thing) might be a book idea I left sitting on my shelf while being too busy revising. It could be a book I have been neglecting to create. It could be a book that I learn to love, rather than falling in love right on the spot.
Don’t let your writing identity get wrapped up in one piece. Why? Because that piece might fail to work out in the way you had hoped, and then it’ll be harder to get back up on your feet again. Getting back into the creative swing was the hardest part for me, anyway. I struggled to settle on a new idea. I had to start over a lot. I had to come to terms with shelving a piece I loved. But I began to love writing again. Now I have so many pieces I want to finish.
There is nothing wrong with investing a significant part of your time in editing or revising, but you also deserve time to create.
So go write.
P.S. I have some exciting news to share! I am officially a Youth Services Associate for the Mid-Continent Public Library! As some of you know, my dream has been to work for a library, and I tried really, really hard last year, but it didn’t work out. See past article: 2017 Wasn’t My Writing Year. I didn’t give up on my goals though! Now I am here. I’m super excited to help the young people of Kansas City with everything the library has to offer. Wish me luck!
24 thoughts on “Why You Should Make Time To Write While Editing/Revising”
Congrats and good luck on the new job! You’ll do great. Your blog today reminds me that in everything that we do in life, we got to have a back-up plan and not to put all our eggs in 1 basket. As they say, we hedge our bets. We all learn the hard way as we all try to find our place in this life. I agree with you that we don’t give up and should soldier on.May you find more creative writing inspirations for this coming Valentine”s Day and more good luck under the Chinese New Year(Feb. 16 this year)—the Year of the Dog.
Thank you! I’m really excited to be a part of the Mid-Continent family.
I hope all is well with you, too! May everyone feel inspired and creative this year. 🙂
Am OK,thanks. Happy Valentines greetings and Happy Chinese New Year to you!
Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out this insightful post from Shannon A. Thompson’s blog on why you should make time to write while editing and revising
Thank you for sharing, Don!
Reblogged this on Plaisted Publishing House and commented:
Make time to write while editing and doing revision..
Thank you for sharing!
Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author.
Thank you for sharing!
Definitely needed that advice!
Glad it helped. 😀
Is always good to hear from the experts. You are a great writer, I been following you from long time. Thank you for your great advice. Keep on going.
I really needed to hear that today. Thank you. ❤
Congratulations! And good luck with your future endeavours, both library and writerly
Thank you! Much appreciated. 😀
Good to know! I’ve been stuck on my book (“the one,” as it’s really the only one I’m thinking about right now) for a good– 5 years? Every time I go to write it I reread to get myself back in that world and head-space, but then my editor kicks in and I’m overwhelmed by everything that needs fixing. (Yes I’m working on that…) So I can see how soul consuming it would be to pull and tear and break down something so cherished to neglect the creative part of you. Live and learn, I suppose. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. 😉
And congrats on the Youth Services Associate role! We may not always get what we want, but we get what we need. Or so I like to tell myself…
Congrats Shannon on getting a job at a Library and good luck.
It is best to be writing other books because it’s a unknown if a book will be a success or failure. If it’s a failure because not published or not a success then you could use the several other books and a possible success.
Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket.
Have a great prosperous year Shannon in writing and the Library job.
Thank you! Much appreciated! Have a great year too.
Thanks Shannon and your welcome.