So, September. The month I return to revision. I think I’ve decided I’m not someone who loves revision. I really, really want to be but I’m finding it so soul-crushingly discouraging that it’s hard to find the positive.
One day I will love revision. But not today.
One good thing about revision, that I’m trying very hard to focus on, is that it is my chance to make this story the best possible story it can be. I can make this project something I’m proud to show people.
I’ve been watching the audio commentaries on my FRIENDS dvds and something I find particularly fascinating is the collaborative process. It really appeals to me that these are a bunch of really smart, creative people, sitting down to create the best and funniest possible story they can. And if a joke doesn’t work, they will even revise it DURING THE FILMING of the episode. This astounds me. And inspires me.
Because for me, ‘protecting the work’ doesn’t mean obtusely refusing to change a single word. It means committing to an idea, a concept, a mood, and figuring out the best possible way to make it shine. No matter how many attempts it takes, or how drastically you have to slice into the previous attempt.
So it’s not that part – the actual changing of the work – that makes me cringe. It’s the idea that maybe I’m simply not good enough to make this idea work. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. It’s putting my work out there to be torn apart by well-meaning, and invaluable, critiquers and thinking that maybe this book is unfixable. Maybe it’s a lost cause. Maybe I’M a lost cause.
I don’t have a great deal of self-belief, but I have enough to know that I WILL finish this project, no matter what it takes. No matter how much it hurts. I’m someone who subscribes to the doctrine that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I’m slowly but surely developing a thick skin, but it takes a whole lot of painful rubbing before I can get there.
I think that’s what makes me a writer – the knowledge that no matter how hard it gets I won’t give up, because I need writing. It’s part of who I am now. I think it’s making me a stronger, more disciplined person. It keeps me sane. And even a bad day of writing is better than a day without it.
So somehow I’ve ended this post in a more positive place than I started it. Maybe I need this kind of writing just as much.