Transitioning to a Revision

This is what focus looks like.

Here in the office, we are transitioning from writing the new book to revising, for the second time, one of the old books. (I enumerate my current projects here; the book I’m about to start revising is the one I refer to as the “second book” in that post.) Unbeknownst to me, a friend snapped a picture while I was explaining to him my method of, um, organization. Normally, anyone besides me taking pictures in my office is asking for it, but I was rather pleased with this result, because I feel like it expresses well what the beginning of a revision is like: Everything is starting to crystallize, but it looks (and feels) an awful lot like everything is coming apart.

Hanging on the wall behind me is the book plan to the book I’m about to revise. (The old book plan. I will take all those cards down and put up new ones once I know the new revision plan.) The crumpled orange pile to my left is the book plan of the new book I was writing last week, which I no longer care about, AT ALL, because when I’m working on one book, I pretty much forget about the other books. The pages strewn across my floor are, well, various revision pages I’m sorting through. I will organize them and deal with them. Once I’ve dealt with them I will put them in the recycling bin, though not before tearing them into little pieces, just in case a dumpster diver finds them and reads my book before I have turned it into a good book. Listen, this could happen, and it would be TERRIBLE, and NO I DO NOT TAKE MYSELF TOO SERIOUSLY SHUT UP.

I mentioned in a recent post that I’ve been having problems focusing lately. Knowing that I would be transitioning soon to this revision, I’ve been worried, because while it’s okay to have some trouble focusing as I begin a new book that has no deadline, it’s a problem to have trouble focusing if I’m revising a book that my editor and I are hoping to slot into a particular release season. A few wise and reassuring friends have suggested that the revision might bring focus along with it; that when my editor’s revision notes arrive, so will my focus. I don’t think it’s too early in the process to say that they were right. I am deeply excited by the challenges presented to me by the comments of my editor and my early readers. I have always enjoyed working on this particular book, and at the moment, I feel like I’m facing some deliciously difficult questions. I have no idea what the answers are, but I know that sometime in the next few weeks, the pieces of this swirling mess will settle into their places (or else I will wrangle them there), and then I will be able to see them. And THEN I will have the frustrating challenge of bringing them into being on the page.

I love being in the middle of this mess. I’m enjoying it while I can, because once I know the plan and all the actual work is ahead… there may be some whining here on the blog. :o)