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It’s cold and revising sucks

By January 16, 20139 Comments

– It is cold. So, so cold. Do you remember back in December when I was all, “Say good-bye to winter,” as if that were a bad thing? Now I am feeling it is really time to say good-bye to winter. It is 63 degrees in my living room right now. Why did I think this was something I would ever, ever miss?

– Revising your novel sucks. It really, really, really sucks. Does the fact that it sucks so much mean I’m doing something wrong? Or that I’m doing something right? And how do you know the difference?

– Revising a sociology of gender textbook is not much better, though there feels like a lot less at stake. I don’t whimper in pain as I cut things out. In fact, sometimes I cry out with glee. Good-bye, section on evolutionary psychology and sociobiology! You are unmitigated crap of a theory and in my own little gender universe, you don’t exist anymore!

– Reading a blog post by Will Wheaton kind of made me cry a little bit. The pain of all the revising might be a contributing factor.

– Teaching on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule is disorienting. On Monday, you are in your office, in the classroom. Teaching, prepping, teaching, prepping, talking to students, teaching. Then on Tuesday–mini-weekend! Home all day, in your pajamas, a glass of chianti with lunch to take the edge off how much the revising sucks and to warm yourself up. Then Wednesday becomes Monday all over again. First world problem. Life of a professor problem. Yes, I’m really not one of those people arguing with this article touting the perks of the academic life.

– It’s still really cold.

– Revising still sucks.

– So, I’m still not so sure how I feel about Twitter. Sure, it led me to Will Wheaton’s tear-jerker of a blog post. And I know Rich Eisen was on The Price Is Right yesterday. Is that a significant improvement in my quality of life?

– I’m worried that no one reads my blog anymore. This may also be about the revising, which is creating a blanket sense of dispiritedness about writing. Feel free to reassure me in whatever manner you find appropriate.

Population: 485– I am afraid that I have become an incredibly picky reader. I keep forcing my painful way through books and handing them over to my friend with long explanations as to why they sucked. Only they don’t suck to her. They are just fine. I wonder if writing has ruined me for reading.

– Okay, that last one was a bit of hyperbole; there are some good books scattered in there. I just started Michael Perry’s Population 451 and it is beautiful and funny all at the same time. Though she flagrantly and repeatedly violates the first rule of fiction writing (Show, don’t tell), I love Cheryl Mendelson’s novels about Morningside Heights. And I just read an excerpt from Annie Dillard’s collection of essays, The Writing Life, in which she explains much more eloquently why revising sucks.

– But, really, it does still suck.

– And it’s cold.


  • sup says:

    oh your blog is most certainly being read, i’d be very sad if you stopped posting your thought provoking thoughts here! (and i am hoping to read your novel too:)

  • Emily Crowe says:

    Yes, I’m still reading, too, Robyn!

    Revising sucks. I never was much good at it. It takes a strong and honest writer to do meaningful revision.

    Why does revision mean studying in Brit-speak?

    • Robyn Ryle says:

      Oh,thanks, Emily! I don’t know why this most recent revision is so very painful. It is necessary. I didn’t know about the British meaning of revision. I think I’d much rather be doing that kind of revising.

      • Emily says:

        I didn’t know this until I first read Harry Potter. Hermione kept revising at the end of the term in the first book, and I thought, huh–she must go through a lot of drafts, and that’s unusual for a kid her age. But then she kept on revising and revising, at the end of term, in every single book, and then I though, huh–this word means something else, I think.

  • belle says:

    I still read your words. I love your new blog design and you always provoke me into thinking mode.

  • Oh Robyn! Don’t give up hope. I like your blog AND your book so much. Throw off that blanket of dispirited-ness, if you can. Writing well is hard work, so you’re not making the pain up, if that helps to hear.

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