The Key to Successful Revisions is Time

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 01 2022

When it comes to successfully revising your work the key to getting it right is taking the time you need without rushing.

All too often I send clients, especially a new client, revisions, and within a matter of days or a few weeks I get them back. The author, excited to get to work and also probably lulled by the idea that I might have said there wasn’t a lot, rushes through. I get it. You have an agent now and are excited to take that next step. But the next step is revisions.

The best revisions, the most effective revisions, come when the author not only takes the time to make the changes but also takes time to sit on the request and think about it and sit on the changes before sending them on.

Revisions are never easy. It’s a rethink of what you’ve already done (probably a million times) and each question or comment essentially leads to a million others. For example, if I ask you to rethink the ending, I can guarantee you’re also going to need to rethink the beginning, the middle, and every other part of the book. Because if the ending needs to be changed, so does everything that leads to it in the first place.

24-Hour Rule

You know I love the 24-hour rule. Originally created by coaches to limit drama between parents, I find it useful in every situation and with every emotion. Taking 24-hours before reacting, whether out of anger, fear, anxiety, or just change, makes for a smarter, more thoughtful, and better discussion, instead of an argument.

The same holds true with revisions. When you first get your revisions, read them through, maybe twice, and give yourself (at least) 24 hours before either responding to your agent or under-taking the job. The mind is an incredible thing. Let it process and work through everything before the rest of you dives in.

Giving yourself 24 hours after finishing is just as important. Now that you’re done with revisions take a break, sit back, and then read it all over. Have you effectively addressed the concerns of your agent in all aspects of the book? In other words, if the agent said the ending was predictable, have you addressed all possible predictability throughout the entire book? If not, you’re not done.

The Rolling Stones knew that time is on your side. Take it while you have it.