Notes from the Revision Cave–April

This year for newsletter subscribers, I’m sharing about my process as I work on my next middle-grade mystery. I’ll repost here on my blog a few weeks after they appear in the newsletter, but if you want to follow my writing process closer to real-time, or you don’t want to miss out on my monthly Book Love giveaways, or you want to be the first to hear Book Scavenger updates and other bookish fun, then make sure to subscribe. I’ll be sending out a new one with the latest soon!

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I’ve come to the point in my revision process where I clean my office. No, seriously, that’s part of my process! With every draft of every novel I’ve written, there is always a point (or multiple) where the clutter and piles and pet hair build up around me as I work and then I can’t stand it anymore.

So, I clean my office.

You might be saying, that’s housekeeping, not part of writing! Or maybe it sounds like procrastination. But I think of it as part of the revision process, because I see meaning in it. There is a reason why I can ignore the clutter and piles and pet hair for a stretch of time, and then suddenly can’t anymore.

Right now, my thoughts about my revision are feeling jumbled. It’s like, in the beginning, you have a map and you know your destination. But then the directions get complicated, and there are multiple routes you could take, and you might be looking at the map upside-down for awhile there. It can feel hard to make sense of which way you’re going. And for me, writing in a messy office is like trying to make sense of that map while in fast-moving traffic on a freeway. There’s just too much going on. And when things feel chaotic inside my head, it helps me focus better if what’s around me doesn’t feel chaotic too.

This wasn’t a major deep-dive, super-detailed cleaning session, mind you. All I did was move the piles out of my office, relocate anything that belonged in another room, throw away or recycle the obvious stuff, vacuum, mop, dust my desk, and then move the piles back in. If I really wanted to procrastinate, there is plenty more cleaning and organizing that could be done. Things are still jumbled in my head, but now it feels like I’ve exited the freeway and can focus better on where I’m going.