Author Jennifer Hubbard wrote recently about one of the most difficult parts of writing a novel:
There comes a point in the writing of every book where I become sick of the book.
Actually, that’s a lie. There’s usually more than one such point per book, and they usually come near the end of a round of revisions. Come to think of it, it happened with my short stories, too. That’s how I knew I was done: when I could think of nothing else to do to the story, and I had been through every word of it so many times that the words were in danger of stale meaninglessness.
I’ve experienced this myself. There comes a point when you think the book is a colossal, irredeemable mess and you can’t for the life of you figure out if it’s actually any good or not.
The best way to deal with revision fatigue is to trust in your heart that it’s a very useful and necessary feeling: what better time to turn a critical eye on your book than when you think it is an affront to humanity?
The good news is, as Jennifer says, it means you’re almost done (at least for now). The danger is getting discouraged by your fatigue and just calling your work finished and turning it in before you’ve given yourself some time to utilize that fatigue. It can be demoralizing, after all that time and effort, to revisit your work and be unsure of what it was all for.
Just know that the feeling will pass and instead let yourself simmer in it for a while. Power through and keep working. You’ll be glad you did later.
What about you? Do you experience revision fatigue? And how do you deal with it?
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Art: First World War US propaganda poster by James Montgomery Flag