Deb Dana is Looking Back to Move Forward

Happy New Year, friends!

So, a show of hands: who out there is excited for 2013? Anyone? I, for one, cannot wait to see what this new year brings. Not only will my first book come out in just over a month (squee!)*, but my fellow Debs — these four lovely ladies who have become my writer sisters — will see their books enter the world this year as well. This is going to be such an exciting year for all of us!

I’m not big on resolutions, but I always think of the first week in January as a time for looking forward. What are my goals for the coming year? How will I achieve them? What did mistakes did I learn from last year, and how will I do better this time around?

With my current work-in-progress, however, I’m in heavy revision mode, which means I’m in the unusual position of looking backward and forward at the same time: backward as I go over a manuscript I’ve read several times and tear it apart, and forward as I envision how I’d like to book to take shape and reassemble the pieces back together.

In my view, this is one of the most exciting and frustrating parts of the writing process. Thanks to some amazing advice from a friend and reader, I’ve cracked the nut of how I can revise my manuscript to take it to the next level (yay!), but I now have to execute all of those ideas, some of which involve shifts in timing and sequence (argh). If A originally happened before B, but now B happens before A, the effects of that change ripple through the entire manuscript. Which means lots o’ revising on my part.

Revisions can seem overwhelming, and I sometimes wonder if I can make this book what I want it to be. But then I remember one of the best pieces of advice I received from my sister-in-law, a successful author in the UK:

Trust the process.

The process can be messy. It won’t always be fun. But I’ve done this before: I wrote a book, I revised it many, many times, and now, in a little more than a month, that book will be published. I have to believe that I will get there again, and I do.

What about you? Do you sometimes have to look backward — whether it’s at a manuscript or a life experience — in order to move forward? And — I have to ask — do you have any resolutions for 2013?

*I’m also preparing to deliver something else into the world in a little over two months, but that’s a story for another time…

11 Replies to “Deb Dana is Looking Back to Move Forward”

  1. My process is also messy, strewn with rearranging and rethinking. My #1 resolution, my only one, is to stop procrastinating. I put off the little things and then they become big things. Who needs more of those???

  2. Oh, revisions! I am a very messy writer because I hate to make decisions. And so, often, when I come to a decision point I have to write different possibilities before I’m able to choose just one. I probably spend more time looking backward than forward when it comes to the writing process, although i try not to do that in real life! As for resolutions? Not a one. They just make me feel guilty and procrastinate more. I do have goals though. Tons of ’em. And I am SO excited about watching all of the Debs’ books appear out in the big wide world.

  3. I’m in a similarly weird position – I’m about to get typeset pages to proof on CLAWS, finalizing the last polish edit on Book 2 before it goes to the publisher, and starting to revise Book 3 – I’m feeling VERY pulled apart. “Trust the process” is great advice, and something I’m going to cling to as the crazy mounts in the months to come!

  4. You asked for a show of hands: here’s mine! I’m super excited for 2013 (my debut publishing year, too). Ah, revisions (I’m also knee-deep in them, for book #2). Embrace the mess.

    I like the early-stage revisions better than the late-stage ones. Early stage is still all creative and fun and playing with clay. Late stage, for me, is like baking a cake and frosting it…and then someone asking me to go back and fold in two more eggs. (Can’t remember where I first heard this analogy, but it works, no?)

    1. LOVE the cake analogy — and not just because I love anything that involves food ;-). To me, that is often what later-stage revisions feel like. It can be more than a little overwhelming!

  5. Just finished Supper Club and loved it. Am using it as the spur to prick the side of the intent of anyone facing 2013 doing a job they really don’t like. Am excited about 2013 and hope that I can see several projects through to succesful conclusion. Good luck with with your revisions and your special delivery

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