Construction Zone: Making Peace with Rewrites

When I’m drafting a novel, I don’t plan the ending. Sure, I know basically that the hero and heroine will eventually get together and live happily ever after – that’s the type of story I write. But I never know, don’t want to know *how* they get there until I’m through the middle and into the homestretch. Why not? Because when I know how it ends, I lose interest in the actual writing of the story. Once I know how it ends, it’s “done”…and I just want to finish the actual writing as quickly as possible.

This is why I’ve been fighting the revision process so badly. This is the actual “work” of writing for me. Drafting is the fun part – the time of magic and discovery. Revisions require hardcore thought, attention to detail and reworking as much of the story as necessary to make it “good”. This is the part of writing that will determine, more than anything, if I have what it takes to make it as an “author”, rather than just a writer.

A lot of Her Private Chef needs actual rewrites rather than just revision/editing. Editing and revising are daunting enough – and then I had to face the fact that I’d actually be *writing entire scenes over*. For someone who doesn’t even want to know how a story ends until I get there, it’s a huge thing to come to grips with. And deep down I knew that if I couldn’t make peace with the process – and learn how to enjoy it, I might as well give up the dream of a writing career. I already have a career that I do primarily for the money – I certainly don’t need another one.

I think the fear that I wouldn’t be able to complete the rewrites is a big part of the reason I got so impatient with the course I’m taking. Strictly following the course, there’s no work done on the actual manuscript until the very end, and I was afraid that by the time I hit that point, I would completely lose interest in the draft and not be able to complete the required edits & rewrites. I decided that was unacceptable.

So I started my rewrites. And it was hard. It was frustrating. I didn’t love it.

I didn’t hate it.

Now that I’ve gotten about a thousand words into the rewrite that my first scene requires, I find myself getting more and more interested – not in the story, but in the process of molding the story into exactly what I want it to be. It’s a completely different mindset than drafting, but one that I’m actually starting to…enjoy.

Needless to say, once I stopped stressing about it, the whole process started going easier. It’s still frustrating, but I’ve got my confidence back – confidence that I can do this, that I can write for a living someday.

Confidence is everything for a writer – if we don’t have it, and can’t find it somewhere, we’re doomed. For me, the revision process is my “ultimate test” – other things that will come later scare me, but nothing as much as not being able to finish the book, revisions and all.

Do you have confidence in yourself as a writer? What’s the one thing about writing that shakes your confidence the most?