I got tickled when I first saw this word. I have to admit, I have dealt with rewrite-itis. What is it? It’s a severe condition that effects both published and unpublished writers according to The Everything Guide To Writing A Romance Novel. It means your are unable to call a book, chapter, or even a scene finished. So what causes the condition? A fear of failure or success. For me it is definitely failure.
What are the symptoms?
- Rewriting the same scene, chapter, or book more than ten times
- Never finishing a book, because you keep going back to polish the first chapter
- Constantly having others read your book with the hopes they will give you some revisions to do
- Taking your finished manuscript to the post office to mail, only to return home with it in hand for further revision
So what do you think? Do you have a case of rewrite-itis?
Rewrite-itis has a close cousin – Research-itis. Maybe you have that one too. True research is crucial to any novel, but an author needs to know when to say “Enough is enough.”
So what is the cure? Set goals and deadlines and stick to them. Remember your manuscript is your baby, but sooner or later you have to turn it loose.
Just something to think about.
I write a lot about rejection, because it is a part of life if you are an unpublished author seeking a literary agent or publishing contract. Many would be authors allow a simple rejection to end their attempts at writing. Their thought – I must not be good enough. Well maybe that’s true, but odds are it is not.
Manuscripts are rejected for numerous reasons, and many have nothing to do with your work. So what are you suppose to do if you receive a rejection?
- Admit it hurts
- Allow yourself time to grieve, but never take more than a week
- Nurture your artist. Read a good book, take a walk, eat some chocolate… TLC is a good thing, but don’t wallow in self-pity.
- Share your news and disappointment with close friends and family who will understand and offer encouragement
- If you must, write a rebuttal to the editor or literary agent, but don’t send it. Tear it up and throw it in the trash. Your only response should be a thank you for their time and consideration
- Remember just because your work wasn’t right for that particular editor or agent, doesn’t mean it won’t be right for another
- Remember just because it isn’t ready for publication, doesn’t mean you can’t make it publishable
Remember: A writer not being able to deal with rejection, is like a doctor not being able to deal with death. It’s going to happen, and like successful authors, you will have to learn to live with it.