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Rewrite, Rinse, Repeat

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

You’re feeling good. You’ve completed your first novel, gotten good feedback from your peers, and you’re ready to pitch it. Then you hand it over to the editor. “You have an intriguing concept,” she tells you “BUT…” She says you have to change the POV, slim down the cast of characters, and perform a radical personality transplant on the protagonist. You know she’s right, but the changes touch virtually every page of the novel, so you’ll have to restructure and rewrite the everything. Aarg!

Now you have to make a decision to make. Do you want to revisit the characters you thought you knew so well, the ones that consumed so much of your waking hours, and start over? Do you think you’re up to the task? After all, you were so sure you had it right before, and look what happened. What if you spend another year spinning your wheels and come up empty handed? The clock is ticking and you’re not getting any younger. Wouldn’t it be easier to just work on the smaller projects you enjoy, the short stories that stand a chance of being published in your lifetime?

Now’s the time to remember what motivated you to write a first draft, take stock of all that was right about your first draft, clean your desk, and commit to the messy job of rewriting your work.

I wrote this post because I’m about to embark on the second draft of my novel and I can’t procrastinate any longer. So I’ve pulled out my trusty mug, cleared my desk, reread the editor’s feedback, and have planned a lot of long walks to get the creative juices flowing.

Wish me luck.

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