1--I still have room to grow. This one is crucial. I am still learning and developing as a writer, and I need to remember that. There are things I can do better in my books, scenes I can write better, characters I can portray better. A little humility goes a long way--if I think I've achieved the best I can be, then there's nowhere else for me to go, and I might as well hang up my writer's hat.
2--Focus is my friend. I had a hard time digging into these revisions at first because I felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what I need to do. But breaking it into bite-sized chunks made it easier. I sat down and compiled an ordered list of how I wanted to approach the revisions. Instead of looking at the manuscript as a whole, I only took one piece at a time. It seriously has helped so far.
3--Kill your darlings. I may have loved a scene I wrote and felt it was funny and perfect and brilliant. But if it doesn't belong, if it slows the pacing or detracts from the main narrative, I need to be ruthless and cut it. This is SUPER hard at times, but it's for the best of the story.
4--Characterization matters. One of the things I'm doing on this round is deepening character, especially the guy. As a reader, we need to feel like we know him. I didn't have enough of him in the story. And since this is a romance, it cheats the readers if they don't get a better sense of him.
5--Keep an open mind. It's hard getting a letter that spells out the flaws of your story. We all want to feel like our creative attempts are loved as-is. But the best approach is to not close yourself off to suggestions and to detach yourself as best as possible. Try viewing your story from an outsider's unbiased POV. I'm glad I listened to my editor's advice, because he pinpointed exactly what was wrong with this book. Now, I know the novel is going to be much stronger.
So, what about you? Are you going through anything challenging that's teaching you some life lessons? Share!