Sometimes things just don’t work. I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening attempting to revise a chapter my editor had suggested needed more work.
She rightly identified that there needed to be urgency in the exchange between two antagonistic characters. At present it is just too sedate. Thus I set about revising the entire exchange. Oh, but what a struggle.
By eleven, I had given up. By midnight I was contemplating putting the entire novel in the bin. By morning, I had nearly convinced myself to abandon editing this manuscript, and return to my latest novel, so much more optimistic and relatable. Sometimes editing becomes such a struggle that you just feel like giving up.
No, but part of maturity is knowing when something isn’t working. In earlier times, we might concentrate on constructing a mountain of words. Now we’re okay deleting whole passages, or reworking chapters we had once put our all into. Nowadays we recognise that if drafting and redrafting isn’t working, it’s okay to pause and start again. Yes, leave it and come back to it later.
After all the emotions, lambasting myself for producing such drivel, convincing myself to abandon the entire project, I have just looked anew at the original chapter. It occurs to me that yesterday’s revisions will have to be added to my burgeoning scrapbook of workings.
It occurs to me too that there need be no urgency in these pursuits. These false self-imposed deadlines are not useful. There is no race against the clock. Nobody is waiting on me to read what I have written. When the time is right, these revisions will come.
Time to take a break. To head out into the wilds again.