I often mention I don't like rewriting, but I don't want anyone to think I don't do it. A lot of rewriting is routine and happens on a constant basis. That is, every time I find words or phrasing I don't like, I try to change them, every time I feel a scene isn't working, I work on it until it does.
No, I think the Work part comes when I've done all that and I still want to try to make the book better. As if there was a magical formula, as if I'm going to suddenly get smarter, deeper and more talented than before.
Which just makes me stare at the page and when I make changes, doubt whether it helps. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
Anyway, I don't think creativity can be Forced. I think it has to be coaxed.
That requires time, it requires perspective, it requires multiple chances to look at the material and catch mistakes and make improvements.
In other words, it isn't something you do with sweat -- it isn't like digging ditches.
So what Work in rewriting really means is taking the Time to try to do it right.
It's hard when you know a book already works -- that it is 90% of the way there, that it is "good enough." But I have tried very hard to hold myself to a higher standard.
Which means giving the manuscript time. Writing it at the right pace, setting it aside, submitting it to Lara and to Linda (if she's available), and to writer's group (as much as possible; I write faster than there are meetings to read.) If I still feel it needs works, I'll wrestle with it after it comes back from editing, and very occasionally I'll send it to Bren, who is someone who isn't afraid to point out bigger problems.
Really, it isn't so much that I'm not willing to take these extra steps, but that I can't always get my Beta readers to help because they lead their own lives, damn it. And I can't really afford to keep having these books edited for money because they aren't earning a whole lot more than I'm paying out.
So whenever I get that feeling that I need to Work at it, I just remind myself to give myself the Time to coax out the better version.
Time = Work.
1 day ago