Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Writer's Revision Response Disorder (*WRRD)

Wow, did I really zone out for a couple of weeks and forget that this blog even existed?  Apparently.  But that is what editorial revisions can do to a writer.  I got the last bunch of revisions for a book project and went through the levels of grief that go with it, known by the medical community as WRRD.  The first typical revision response is the RANT.  I read through my editor's notes and erupted with, "A WEEK?  YOU HAD THIS FOR 6 MONTHS AND YOU WANT ME TO DO ALL THIS IN A WEEK????" 

The next level of response is acknowledgement that the revisions are really here on on my desk. I talk myself down:  "Okay, no problem.  Just read through the editor's notes carefully. Look, no biggy. You can already cross that one off  'cause you caught that error yourself.  Look how good you are."  

Convinced that the revisions will only take me ten minutes, I slip into denial where upon I call my sister-in-law and we go out to lunch.

Acceptance finally comes after I have checked off every other chore on my to-do list.  I zip through the easiest revision notes (the ones I can just answer with okay or no), cutting the list by more than half.  Now I can prioritize the rest of the list to tackle the bigger changes first.  This move inevitably leads me to pull out my manuscript when I sink into Annoyance. "Wait a minute.  What's wrong with that sentence? He didn't think it was misleading the last 50 times he read it???"  A brief recycling through the early levels of revision response - RANT, acknowledgement, denial  -  that lasts a minute and a half and I am back to acceptance and settle in to work on the revisions. 

As I cross off the last of my editor's notes, I settle comfortably into the final response - Gratitude.  Not only am I grateful that I got through the revision process without killing someone, I am grateful for my editor's thoughtful questions and suggestions that will make the book better. 

* (All medical information on WRRD and its variations pending acceptance in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM. They are currently out to lunch at Cafe DeNile.)

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