Category Archives: revisions

This is why writers aren’t exactly known for their mental health.

I need to vent, so here I am. This is not what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I’m supposed to be working through my fifth revision of a novel – my fifth! – but I keep getting distracted. I keep thinking, Revise? Or stab myself in the neck with a pen?

And I keep thinking that surely other writers don’t go through this many revisions. Surely real writers don’t do this. Surely. I mean, five revisions? That’s ridiculous, right? Show me one mentally healthy professional adult who would willingly work and work and work, with no end in sight, no pay, and no real guarantee of payment at any point. Besides me. (And by the way? Thanks, but your idea of “mentally healthy” obviously differs from mine. Did you read the part where I said I was thinking of stabbing myself in the neck with a pen? You too? Hunh. You must be a writer. With revisions in front of you. And behind you. God bless you, my friend.)

Anyway, that’s what I keep thinking, and I may have actually said some of it out loud, to my literary agent. Yeah, I must have, because she told me how the last middle grade novel she worked on with an author went through eight major revisions that took two years. Eight revisions. Two years. Two. Years. I think we can all see what caused me to actually pick up my stabby pen. But then I got distracted again and wondered if this other poor author is even still alive – as opposed to dead from pen or keyboard inflicted injuries. So, I put down my stabby pen, just for a sec, to check on this other writer. Great news: she’s alive! (Good for you, honey! Way to hang in there!) And not only is she alive, but the resulting novel – eight revisions and two years later – was a New York Times bestseller, a National Book Award finalist, and a Newbery Honor book. So I’m thinking that even if she went a little crazy, maybe whacked off an ear and mailed it at some point during the revision process, so what? People overlook little things like that when dealing with award-winning, bestselling authors – or painters of priceless art – right? They don’t refer to these artists as crazy; they refer to them as eccentric. And either way, this other author can probably afford therapy now. Lots and lots of therapy.

I, on the other hand…well, I’m trying to work through my problems here in bloggyland, instead of curled up on some therapist’s comfy couch with a cup of herbal tea and a soothing voice to calm my nerves. But since I aspire to be on that couch, have never been especially fond of my ears – aside from the obvious benefit of actually hearing – and am therefore willing to trade one or both of my ears, in addition to endless amounts of time, to reach literary success, at which point I will become eccentric instead of just plain old crazy…well, I guess I’ll go do my work now. Right? Thought so. Okay. Thanks for the affordable – free – counseling.

P.S. If you are the person who keeps distracting me from my distractions by calling, hanging up, and calling right back? I’m convinced that you are pure evil. And just because I’ve decided not to stab myself in the neck with a pen – at this particular time – that doesn’t mean I won’t stab YOU.

P.P.S. And Caller, if you are a teenage boy hoping to reach my teenage girl, know this: she plans to be a WRITER. She is a writer, just like her mother. Perhaps you should take a moment to really think about that. Go ahead. I’ll wait. (This is me waiting…………..waiting………….waiting.) Have you thought it through? Good. Then you’re thinking of calling some other girl right about now, aren’t you? Good.

P.P.P.S. To my husband: yes, it’s too late for you to call some other girl. You’re totally stuck with me, with or without ears.

P.P.P.P.S. To my literary agent: ditto – I hope!