What, for you, is the hardest part of writing? The part that makes you want to bang your head against your desk (or the nearest wall), the part that you have to grit your teeth to get through? Is there a part of writing like that for you, or is it all sunshine and roses? (And if it is all sunshine and roses, you suck. Just sayin’. I’m jealous…)
I’ve been writing more or less seriously (depending on how you look at it) for the past 11 years. I love the thrill of getting a new idea, and planning a new story is great fun. (Sometimes a little too much fun, as I tend to plan all sorts of details that aren’t particularly necessary, and therefore keep myself from actually starting to write the story. But that’s a whole other post…) The rush of writing and getting what I see in my head down on paper is always (Okay, usually.) fun. I like talking about writing. I like thinking about writing.
But for me, the part I like least about writing is…revising. Yep. Revising=not so much fun to me. My revision process goes like this:
1) Finish draft, put it aside for at least 2 months.
2) Re-read draft and resist impulse to cry at how badly I suck!
3) Slog through the MS, trying to figure out how I managed to mess up my spiffy, pretty idea so badly…and try to repair it.
4) Actually cry when I couldn’t quite manage to make the actual draft match the vision in my head.
Well, at least that’s how my revision process used to work. And then I discovered Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel class. I’ve been a long-time member of Forward Motion for years. I’ve been in a private crit group there for years (Hello, any of my fellow Silver Griffins!). The crit group alone has taught me an astronomical amount. I would never have imagined that critiquing other people’s work would teach me so much about my own, but it did. I took Holly’s How To Think Sideways class, and while I know some of the techniques escaped me, I learned a lot. So, when she created HTRYN, I jumped at that chance, baby! A system to actually teach me how to revise, and how to look at each aspect of revision logically (and therefore avoid the whole crying/head-banging thing?). I was there!
I’ve only used the class to revise one full novel so far, but I’m a third of the way through my second revision with it. Is it easy? No. Is it still painful? Yes. Do I still want to cry when I realize what I wrote doesn’t quite match up to my vision? Yeeesss. Do I actually cry now? NO!
Revision is still my least favorite part of writing, but this class has made it much less painful. More like minor surgery without anesthesia, instead of…a double amputation. And I think it’s awesome that Holly does so much to pay it forward to other writers. I’ve read several of her books, and enjoyed them all, and the amount of work she puts into helping other writers is phenomenal. Her amount of knowledge–and she freely admits that these techniques are what work for her–is also astonishing. If you haven’t yet checked out her site, you should. In addition to the paid courses, she also has a bunch of helpful freebies and writing advice.
So, tell me, what’s your least favorite part of writing?