Lesson learned: taking time between rough draft and revision is invaluable

I’m an impatient writer. And an impatient artist. I want to get everything done right away, which is definitely not how most writing and art works best. So that I was able to push through and finish my book on family and local history, page count over 500 (including bibliography), is amazing.

And even though I my writing brain was thoroughly exhausted, I barely took a breath before I started trying to push through and get any revisions needed done. I mean, the thing had taken me over 5 years (part time, off and on) to write, and I was eager to get it done and out the door. Whether that would be publishing through a publisher or via the Amazon.com route, I wasn’t sure and really didn’t care too much at that point. I just wanted to be done.

So I soldiered on, starting from the beginning and carefully reading word by word. Nothing was sinking in, and I was distracted by all the details I’d so painstakingly researched. So I asked my husband to give it a read-through, and the dear man did, complete with providing me with a couple of pages of grammerly corrections (it’s helpful that I’m married to a middle school teacher).

But even with his corrections, I could tell it still wasn’t flowing the way it should. So I asked my two adult kids to look at it. One did, for a few pages anyway, and the other never was able to get past the (gasp) 500-plus page count.

Then life got in the way, and for several months I wasn’t able to touch it or look at it at all.

I recently came back to my manuscript, and with a fresh eye began reading it from the beginning.

What a difference a few months made! I could see where I’d gotten too far in the weeds with detail. Where I was repetitive is now crystal clear. And the overall theme and meaning of the work is suddenly clear to me.

I hadn’t meant to take that break, and I’d been very frustrated that I’d had to. But it was, I think, one of the best things to happen to my manuscript.

I still don’t know how I’ll get it published. And I’m still not worried about it–I know that something that is heavy on personal family history isn’t likely to be enticing to a publisher. So I’ll probably go the Amazon.com self-publishing route.

And that’s OK. What I’m pulling together on this last round of revisions is something I’m feeling pretty good about.

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