Revising – Dread then Joy

writer’s hotel on the coast of Oregon

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I finished the second draft of my new novel Trails in the Sand before leaving on a trip to Denver two weeks ago. I like to have deadlines like that because once you leave a novel for a few days, it’s almost like starting over again. Since the incubation period is a necessary part of writing for me, I like to have something finished when I leave it. I timed it perfectly.

However, when I returned from my trip, I spent three days moping. I couldn’t bring myself to open the three-ringer binder where the draft rested.

second draft – all 538 pages

I walked by it, looked at it, and continued on my way – usually to lie down or to clean a toilet, hoping for the divine intervention of my muse. By day three, I was tired of my pitiful self and decided to do what I hate most. I went shopping. That’s desperation. But it worked.

I came home that afternoon and removed the notebook from its spot on an unused desk in the living room. I opened it up, and I began to read. And suddenly, I wanted to do nothing more than sit with my creation and revise it. I wrote a new four page opening to chapter one. Since I’m writing an environmental story, I needed to open in nature not with the protagonist lying in bed savoring the first cup of coffee of the day.

It’s true that the worst thing is probably the anticipation of starting a task. Once I got over myself and began the work, I discovered once again that for me, telling a story is the second biggest passion of my life. Thankfully, my first passion – my husband Robert – accepts his close second and knows it enhances me when it’s going well.

Because when the writer in me isn’t writing, ain’t nobody gonna have a good day.

How do you get inspired to get down to the task needed to be done?

7 responses to “Revising – Dread then Joy”

  1. Am looking forward to reading your writing tips. I’ve only recently started a blog re my journey to Mwinilunga. All my writing is stashed away in a container which can’t be accessed right now. So I’ve had to re-write everything. Terrible. Have you ever had to rewrite work you’ve already written? It’s difficult to set out the emotion the way it was when the events occurred.


    • I have done that and you’re right it can be difficult, but it can also make the writing stronger. I’m trying in my spare time to make sure all my writing – even published articles – are saved electronically. It’s a long arduous practice but hopefully worth it in the end. Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by.


  2. Hi Patricia, your post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been suffering from those pre-2nd draft doldrums for the past two weeks. I already know some of general revisions I intend to make, but it’s been difficult to bring myself to read my 1st draft and begin the next stage of work. Seeing you take the horse by the reins is very motivating for me!


    • I’m glad it helped. It feels rotten when we’re in the middle of it, but then it suddenly all becomes clear. My goal is to accept those times as “recharge” moments, knowing that what comes next will be miraculous. The same will happen for you. Keep me posted. I’m glad this helped – just as your blog does for me.


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