The right outlook makes a big difference during revisions!


How many July days have you needed to keep a lamp lit the entire day? I clicked the switch on as I entered the family room yesterday morning and turned it out fifteen hours later.  The entire time I needed extra light to keep the day’s grey gloom at bay.

The morning sky slouched into the trees, letting wisps of mist settle between branches. Later the mist became drizzle, and moisture accumulated until it trickled from the deck umbrella.

The forecast for today was no better, and as I planned for this post I contemplated my collection of photos, wondering what might brighten another cheerless day. Perhaps this rhododendron, taken as it basked in Saturday’s sunshine.

But it didn’t reflect the dreary truth, so I grabbed the camera and ventured out into the rain, expecting to capture a soggy, bedraggled bloom to throw onto the page. Instead, I found rain-washed glory, and liquid diamonds.

Raindrops captured in a spider's web

My outlook was typical of my approach to the novel revision that currently bugs me. I’m not pleased with some of the scenes and it’s tempting to think there’s nothing worth salvaging. I mull over them day after day, moody and miserable, convinced the writing is pedantic. I decide the only thing to do is delete the scenes and rewrite from scratch, but when I open the file and take an in-depth look, I discover unexpected gems that are worth saving, bright spots that convince me they belong in the story.

Often, when the Inner Critic is being persuasive about the terrible caliber of our writing, it’s our own perspective that’s skewed. Instead of dwelling on the negatives maybe we need to take a break, adjust our attitude, refocus, and determine to look for the bits of genius (don’t laugh… I’m trying to be positive here) that are worth saving.

Do emotions affect your perception of the quality of your writing? How do you keep your moods in check so you can be more unbiased? Or do you perhaps use your moods to help you colour particular scenes?


“The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure,
the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season,
and to bless all the work of thine hand.”
[Deuteronomy 28:12a KJV]


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

16 thoughts on “The right outlook makes a big difference during revisions!

  1. I do think mood can sometimes factor into our writing. A year ago I stopped writing a story because I was suddenly convinced I hated what I was doing. I few months later, and a new attitude, I read over what I’d written and liked it enough to finish it. Same story, different attitude.

    I love your photos, Carol.

  2. What beautiful photos, Carol. Love the raindrops on the flowers. Love the way you describe the sky as “slouching” in the trees. That verb is perfect!

    How true that instead of scrapping our scenes, we need to look for these little gems that are hidden in them. You are so right that mood makes a big difference. If I’m down on myself and feeling negative, nothing I write is any good. As usual, attitude is everything!

  3. What I wouldn’t give for a gloomy, rain-washed day. Our arid landscape has thirsted for months. There’s been no rain here since before harvest in early June. And that was sparse at best. Spring crops that should be shoulder-high right now are trembling at our knees — those that bothered to peek their heads above ground at all. Cattlemen are feeding next winter’s rations to herds on barren pastures. Temperatures flirt around a hundred degrees Fahrenheit (thirty-eight Celsius).

    I’d love to see a “morning sky slouch into the trees, letting wisps of mist settle between branches.” Beautiful writing indeed! And the photos of rain washed beauty and liquid diamonds are exquisite.

    I seem to be doing a “rain dance” with my own writing at this point, struggling to get anything of substance written at all. Too many distractions, too much extraneous noise in my head, too little focus. So while you write beautifully in the rain, I desiccate in the desert.

    This, too, shall pass.

  4. Wow! I had a difficult time the first time my editor sent me a list of revisions. I was thinking this is a true story “My Story” how dare she think she can change the truth! Well I just got over myself real quick and realized how right she was. I actually enjoyed the challenge of making my work the best it could be.
    When I realized yesterday I had to cut 25% for the audio and e-books I immediately felt defensive also. Yikes; this is going to be a challenging weekend:)

  5. Emotions are so much a part of my daily writing. If I’m too glum, I find the thought of writing draws me, but it’s my blank mind that stops me. I then have to sit quietly and sort out what I’m feeling before I can turn the feelings into words. When I’m too happy or giddy, it’s just as bad. The best moments seem to be when I’m quiet and introspective.

    Beautiful pics, Carol. So relaxing.

  6. Morning dear friend…you know how I h a t e spiders but the rain drop caught in one is gorgeous! No need to cry over my revisions, as you know they’ve gone on for years! or until I get so frustrated I quit the story. Right now I’m starting RINGBOUND and have a bit more research to do re travel.

  7. What beautiful photos! The weather affects my mood. Now that we are in the rainy season I feel more compelled to sit outside in the screen room and listen to the rain. I am usually inspired listening to the tinkling of the rain hitting the roof.
    Other writers also inspire me. You happen to be one of them my friend!
    Have a blessed weekend.

  8. Good morning to each of you. I love checking in to find who’s been by to say hello.

    You get my point exactly, Laura and Cathy! “Same story, different attitude.” Those emotions you talk about, Joylene, it may be brain chemistry, different levels in our hormones… I don’t know… but some days everything just clicks, and other days nothing does. Like you, I seem to write best when I’m calm and introspective, although I know there are writers who say their best writing comes when they feel the extremes of passion. That may be what Karen means… there’s a right mood for all kinds of writing?

    Judith, I wish we could exchange just a bit of our weather patterns. This spring has seen so many extremes everywhere. Today it’s cloudy again here, but in the past half hour it has alternated every five minutes between showers and sunshine. Glimpses of hope?

    Doreen, I’m sure it’s hard to put aside one’s own feelings about a story and be willing to accept what an unbiased professional says it needs. At the same time, however, it must be wonderful to have her expertise to help you improve it. Cutting 25% would be challenging, though. At least you know the writing will be tighter when you’re done… no room for all the extraneous words and unnecessary scenes we seem to love. 🙂

  9. It’s not so much the weather that affects me, but if my routine is disturbed. It’s best if I can have my devotions first, and then a walk—preferably the 2 together as a prayer walk. Then it’s sitting down at the laptop. I work best in the morning.

  10. Earlene, I’m delighted to hear you’re underway with Ringbound! I know it has the potential for a wide reading audience, so don’t let that research take you too long. 😉

    What a sweet thing to say, Katt… thank you. I know when I read inspiring bits from my favourite books and blogs it helps get me into a better frame of mind, too.

    Lou, that’s the mark of a good writer… dropping a hook that makes the reader need to know more. You have me curious. Now I’ll have to head over to see if you’ve shared anything about it on your blog. 😉

    Christine, if I could psych myself up for a walk in the morning my brain would probably wake up faster… all that oxygen and fresh air. But I can’t even get out of my pj’s, let alone out of the house at that point. LOL.

  11. Hi Carol –

    I definitely need an attitude adjustment or something about revisions. Perhaps if I look at it from the perspective of polishing a diamond, it might help.

    Thanks for brightening my day.

    Susan 🙂

  12. So very well said, Carol. And so, so true. Thanks for your continuing encouragement to so many with your caring comments around the blog world and especially for the words you write here. Always love reading them.

  13. You’re making me appreciate the sunny weekend I’m having!
    But we had rain on Friday night, which was pleasant because we hadn’t had any for a while. Having grown up in New England made me a person who expects change in weather more than any one particular kind of weather.
    I find it difficult to write if I’m too hot or too cold, but beyond that, it’s all writing weather to me!

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