A few months ago, I got the news that any unpublished writer would be thrilled to getâ€”A revision letter from an editor was on its way to me.
This was for my single title, historical romance, TO REIGN EDEN, which is set in London and California in 1875. Technically, it could be termed an American historical and as many of you historical writers know, news of selling in that sub-genre has been grim the past few years. So, imagine my surprise when I actually received the letter and not a word was mentioned about changing the part of the story set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I thought for certain the editor would tell me to expand the part set in London, but that wasnâ€™t the case. Of course, I re-read the letter, wondering if she missed the fact that itâ€™s set in the West. Nope, she hadnâ€™t missed it. Three-fourths of the book is set in the West. Wow. Terrific! Does this mean that Westerns are on their way back to bookstore shelves? I certainly hope so.
When the editor told me the letter was on its way to me, I rejoiced. Finally! Iâ€™m going to be given some direction for my story.
Then I get the letter. And I freeze. Waitâ€¦what happened to the excitement? The thrill? The changes were not complicated by any means, but for the life of me, I couldnâ€™t immediately see HOW they were to be made. Of course, the changes suggested by the editor would definitely make the story even stronger and that was a good thing, right? Then what the heck had happened to me? Was it just that I needed time to digest the notes and look at my story a different way? The seven months separation–while it was on the desk of the editor–wasnâ€™t enough time? I felt as if a wall as humongous as the Green Monster in Fenway Park blocked my path. Where did it come from? And how do I get around it? Scale it, move it, or go around?
I WANT to make the changes, I truly do. I want this to be the best story it can possibly be. And writingâ€™s a businessâ€¦I know that. Then how do I thaw out my fear of revision? Will this happen every time I get a revision letter? Or did it happen now because this is my first story and the first time I had ever submitted anything to the publishing industry? I really hope itâ€™s the latter.
Now, I havenâ€™t been just sitting around, not writing a word. My intent is for TO REIGN EDEN to be the first in a series about the dynamic Harrison family, so as soon as I sent off TRE, I wrote a first draft of another story and outlined the story of a third. But after working on those for several months and still not hearing back from the editor (and thinking she just simply threw it in the nearest trashcan where it belonged), I decided to cover my bases and start a contemporary romantic suspense that Iâ€™d been wanting to write for a few years. Yes, years. So I did.
Now, Iâ€™m nearly finished with the contemporary and Iâ€™ve received the revision letter for my historical, so now itâ€™s time to focus on that one again. Iâ€™m sure I can do it now. In fact, the thought of hitting the story hard this week has excitement running through my veins now, not fear. Maybe the contemporary story just demanded to be near completion before it would release me to go back to my historical. Doing just that, going around, seemed to be what I needed in order to get past that wall.
Wish me luck as I venture on the other side. And to any of you who have experienced the same fear that builds up that ugly mental block, I hope you find a way to face it down, too. If you have, what did you do to overcome your own Green Monster? Scale it, move it, or go around?