It’s 3 a.m. and I’ve woken up and can’t go back to sleep. I wasn’t going to blog tonight, but I might as well. Sleep’s not happening, and in about an hour, the sun’s going to come up. Damn Pacific Northwest summers.
Revisions are getting worse. Every time I change something, it dominoes. I tug at one little thread and the whole thing starts falling apart, chapter after chapter. I’m at the 82,000-word mark, and let me tell you, it freaking sucks to make a change in chapter two and then have to comb through 281 pages to check for all the ways it affects the rest of the story. I’ve probably done that seventeen times today. I started working at noon, finished at midnight, fell asleep for three hours, and now here I am, stressing about it again.
It’s because I don’t outline.
A lot of writers don’t, and I totally get why. Planning the book before writing the book takes something away from the book. There is so much joy to be had in the words that pop out spontaneously from my head, and I love being surprised at the twists and turns the story takes. To know beforehand that I have to get from A to B to C to follow the plot I’ve mapped out in advance would feel horribly limiting.
But then again, it would save me the grief of revisions like this. Plot holes would be fixed early. All structural decisions would be made before one word of prose is written.
I’d like to find out from other writers what your process is. This is the first time I’ve revised a novel, and I feel like I have my head up my ass most of the time. If you’re lurking, please post a comment and let me know what works for you. I need all the advice I can get.
I’m going to back to bed now. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch a couple more hours of sleep before I wake up in a panic wondering if I should just burn the damn manuscript and find a day job.
Because writing a novel is hard. And right now, this moment, I can’t think of a single reason why I’m doing it.