Revisions on my romance novel stalled a few months ago. Admittedly, some of the delays were unavoidable. Buying a house and moving took a lot of time and energy, and I’m not going to beat myself up for putting those tasks ahead of my writing. It’s what I needed to do.
But I also know my revisions stalled because I just haven’t made them a priority. Partly, that’s because revisions are bloody hard work for me. I would rather focus on the fun part of writing, which is creating new characters and drafting a new story.
Another reason I haven’t given editing the attention it needs is a lack of confidence. Like many unpublished authors, I have the habit of judging my (unpolished) draft against the polished, published work of my favorite authors. And my writing sucks when viewed in that light.
For years, I didn’t think about–in fact, didn’t fully understand–the importance of revision and writing multiple drafts. I was always the kid in school who could get top marks on what was, essentially, a crappy first draft of a paper. I didn’t really learn how to revise my own writing until graduate school, in fact.
That’s why I love, love, LOVE the book Hamilton, the Revolution, the behind-the-scenes look at how Hamilton: An American Musical was created. The book provides essays explaining how each song was written and details the casting decisions and their effects on the show’s development.
It’s also an outstanding study in character development, the editing and revision process, and how wordplay can make one’s writing better. Don’t just take my word for it. Check out Tracy Hahn-Burkett’s blog post, and then read Rob Hart’s post. Both will explain why writers of all levels might find Hamilton, the Revolution a worthwhile addition to one’s writing manual bookshelf.
Hang in there, Ruth. I’m sure Steinbeck and Hemmingway felt the same way at times. I know F. Scott had a confidence crisis many, many times. I say, don’t compare your writing to anyone else’s. You are unique and your writing style is unique. I agree that creating the characters and the story are the best part!