For the last month, I've been slogging through first round revisions for my self-dubbed "light and fun" YA contemporary, and it's been hell. The revision process has been so bad I recently had a weekend-long panic attack. While I'm known to tweet/FB things like "Revisions. Grrr...," I'm not opposed to the process. It's an accepted fact of the writer life.
So the fact I struggled for breath just thinking about my WIP caused even more anxiety. I didn't think too much into the why of it all but over the last few days I've come to the conclusion that most of my recent tweaking is due to unrealistic expectations I set for myself.
Despite what I said publicly, internally I kept my goal of revising this project in 31 days while working the day job and querying and handling life. The truth is, I couldn't. No matter how much I wanted it, I'm a 2-4 month revision girl. Because I set down something I couldn't realistically achieve, everything else in turn became backed up. Which caused yours truly even more anxiety. This could've been avoided if I accepted my strengths and weaknesses in terms of writing and revising.
Of course, acceptance is hard. Everyone wants to believe they're stronger than they really are. In some instances, this is a great thing to do. But in this case, accepting what you can and can't do is the key to figuring out whether you've established a reasonable timetable for your goals. But the question remains: How do you map out your strength and weaknesses?
The first thing to do is be honest with yourself. If you never pay bills on time because you blew all your cash on something frivolous, that's a weakness (and possibly an addiction of some sort). If you're an ace at prioritizing yourself and everyone around you, that's a strength. Sit down and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to what you're trying to achieve. Once you have these figured out, you're one step closer to creating realistic deadlines.
When setting goals and deadlines, it's very important to know what works for you. This way you know what you can comfortably manage while giving yourself permission to overreach just a bit. Eventually the part that is outside your comfort zone WILL be your comfort zone, and you can add on a little bit more. The point is to become more efficient, not burn out after 5 weeks.