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The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Revisions

By Wally Gobetz, Flickr’s CC

Please welcome Maya Rock [1] as our guest today. In 2010, she founded Fresh Ink Book Editing [1] to offer editorial support to agents, authors, and publishing houses. She graduated from Princeton University in 2002 and has worked in book publishing ever since. Prior to Fresh Ink Editing, she started at Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, then moved to Writers House, where she agented for four years.

As an editor, I’ve helped many writers through the revisions process and have noticed that it can be challenging for them. There’s not as much glory in revising as in just having a completed draft or book, and they’re often unprepared for how much time it will take. I thought sharing some of my insights on the process might help.

Connect with Maya on her website [1], her blog [2], and on Facebook [3].

The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Revisions

All writers experience fears when handing over a manuscript to an editor, from potential distress upon receiving edits, to the nerves of getting on the phone and talking it all over, and finally to the feeling of being overwhelmed while implementing changes. Being able to anticipate your emotions during a revision will make this process go more smoothly.

Step One, Fear: Handing Over The Manuscript

You may be scared to hand over your manuscript to an editor. Not only have you invested a lot of time on the project, you may feel, on some level, that you’re showing your soul. You’re vulnerable. How can this fear be lessened?

Step Two, Distress: Receiving Edits

You knew that you are going to get feedback. You may have even asked that the editor be ruthless. Yet actually seeing the feedback is causing some uncomfortable feelings and thought. There’s just so much of it. Then, there are issues raised that never even crossed your mind. Here’s how to deal with the initial distress upon receiving edits.

 Step Three, Nerves: Having A Phone Call

I’ve had many conversations with writers about edits. Conversations are great ways to clear up any confusion about the letter. Writers often feel nervous before phone calls. Instead of viewing the conversation as a means to get practical feedback, they can get caught up in searching for reassurance the work is good, or they don’t have a plan at all for the phone call and end up meandering. Here are some ways to make sure nerves don’t get in the way of your having a productive phone call.

Step Four, Overwhelmed: Implementing The Changes

 Now that you’ve had the phone call and the letter, it might really be sinking in: You have a lot of work ahead of you. That day when you finished your first draft and were flushed with pride seems ages ago. You’re feeling overwhelmed that you won’t be able make these changes. Here’s how to make the daunting process of revision less so.

How do you feel when you give a manuscript to an editor? How do you prepare yourself for feedback and for implementing changes?