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Chapter 13 of Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell starts the discussion on the philosophy of revision.

He spends a good part of the discussion on the attitude towards revision. How to make your attitude one of enjoyment toward the process, how to work on your mental game, set up a reward system, etc.

For me this is a key chapter as I look at the revision process with dread. I love the creative writing of the first draft, which explains why I have about a half dozen first novel drafts, but no second drafts or other novel revisions.

The author then explains keeping your eyes on the end and that all your little chores will pay off, so do what you need to in order:

  1. Stay healthy
  2. Let your subconscious work out your problems for you
  3. Dealing with procrastination
  4. Set goals

These and other bits of advice on dealing with the mental challenges that will crop up during the revision process are manageable and practical.

Chapter 14 then goes into some steps to do before you revise, such as don’t revise while you write. The only time you re-read while still writing the first draft, is in order to review your previous day’s work before starting the next day’s work. This allows a writer to get back in the flow of your story and outline as you go (if you don’t outline beforehand). Finally hook up with a critique group to help provide valuable feedback on your work.

Having hosted two writer’s groups in the past, I wholeheartedly agree that hooking up with a critique group is essential. A critique group acts as a test bed for your story (do they like it or not?) as well as providing critical editing in areas you may miss. There are in-person critique groups in most major cities or online groups, such as you can find in Yahoo! Groups.

Since hosting a Biggest Loser contest at work, I’ve seen many contestants come and go. It seems apparent that the mental game is more than half the battle in more than just the area of being a writer. Thus, this was a good set of chapters to set the stage mentally for the soon to be revision process.

Set the timer for 10-minutes and try this writing prompt.

Writing prompt #0037


Write about visiting grandparents or parents.

Do you have one set or multiple sets of parents/grandparents to visit? Do you have to travel to get to their home? What things can you expect to happen, that happen every time you visit? What memories or legacy do you see them leaving with you through these visits?