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The semester is over! Hooray! And it ended on a high note: my professor left me the most positive review yet of my last story. I’m feeling bold enough to consider submitting it for publication once I put in a few more edits. It’s nice to end the semester with a dash of bravery.

What makes the jolt of self-confidence particularly welcome is that this winter break I will be preparing my manuscript. This past semester gave me a much stronger feeling for what people notice most in my writing and what I might like to highlight, but I’m looking at at least one more pass on every story I’ve lined up. I don’t want the break to slip away from me, so here is my Revision Plan, a guide to help me make the most of my time and relax over the holidays, too:

how i write

  1. Count stories. Count days/weeks. Plan accordingly. Know when to move on to a new story that needs attention instead of picking endlessly at one.
  2. Start by identifying the issues. Note the most common critiques or the areas I see as most in need of revision to avoid wasting time wondering where to start.
  3. Focus on the big stuff first. Minor language edits are easy enough to sneak in at the last minute than character development, a shift in pacing, new dialogue, or even additional scenes.
  4. Spread work out over multiple sessions. I usually get more done in three 30-minute sessions than one 90-minute slog. It helps me to think about the story and come to a more creative solution to a problem during my “off” time and keeps me feeling more focused and relaxed while I’m in front of the screen.
  5. Put in as many days as possible. Ten minutes spent fixing a paragraph means now I have a fixed paragraph. It’s still worth it.
  6. Keep a positive outlook. However tough this project is, I’m working toward my first book, and that’s something to celebrate! Just try to save most of the congratulatory wine sipping for after the night’s editing is done…
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