Revising May Not Be As Much Fun…

I’ve started a closed Facebook group for a couple dozen folks. They have agreed to beta read the first half of my WIP, The Search for Stagehand Jesus. Here’s thelink. Some folks have started posting their feedback already, but most seem to be reading the whole chunk first. Or they’re like everyone else in the world and crazy-busy with their own lives. Otherwise I can’t understand why they haven’t dropped everything they care about to read part of my book. But seriously, I’m grateful for their support and optimistic about what could happen. Since I figure I can’t thank them enough, I’m doing it one more time here.

Also, anyone reading this post who’s curious about the group should feel free to observe from the outside. You can see the activity without joining. Or, if you’re interested in a more active role, ask me for an invite. I’ve got folks from all of my different worlds mixing together in there. If they really engage, it could be fun.

And knowing people want to read what I’m revising is a heck of a motivator. Unfortunately, it’s also a pretty effective paralyzer. Since I created the group, it feels like I stagger between these two states most of the time. But I’m making progress on my revisions. Slowly. As usual, I blame things like my having to write this blog when I don’t work on The Search for Stagehand Jesus, but I know better. It really just boils down to priorities.

When I prioritize my WIP, it gets my attention and effort. When I don’t, it doesn’t. It’s that simple (and frustrating, since this realization leaves only myself to blame when I let the work go undone).

My most recent distraction has been NaNoWriMo. I know lots of people who signed up to write the first draft of a novel this month, and I’m following their progress through Facebook posts. (When exactly did Zuckerberg take over the world?)

I was sorely tempted to sign up myself.

Because first drafts are such fun! Generative writing is magical: that feeling when the fingers fly over the keyboard (or the cramped hand scratches it out across an empty page) is what got me into writing as a kid. There are no mistakes or bad choices in first drafts: all the new ideas are exciting and the characters get to do what they want.

But I didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo because I’m revising. I’m not generating a new story. And starting a new project would mean deprioritizing my current one. You know, like I always do. No. This time I’m pushing past the second draft and into the realm (hopefully) of a polished and marketable manuscript. I’m done adding to that file drawer of abandoned first drafts. My goal is to finish this round of revisions by the end of the year. That way I can be ready to feed it to my beta reader friends on Facebook. And maybe even start pitching it at the next Austin SCBWI Conference.

Happy Holidays indeed.