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July 2, 2013

There’s No Crying in Revision

You ever get in the mood for a really good sports movie? I do, and this weekend I satisfied my craving with A League of Their Own.


Summertime often puts me in the mood for sports films, but another driver this time was my constant need for pep talks as I work through my revision. Thankfully, a good man name Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) delivered.



Jimmy Dugan: Shit, Dottie, if you want to go back to Oregon and make a hundred babies, great, I’m in no position to tell anyone how to live. But sneaking out like this, quitting, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.

Dottie Hinson: It just got too hard.

Jimmy Dugan: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.



When I worked in the editorial department at Atheneum and McElderry, I could spend the morning writing rejections to authors who would give anything to have their work published and in the afternoon, rush through an editorial pass to keep a project that came in late on schedule. Sometimes I wondered if the contracted authors and illustrators remembered when they were just another name on the submissions list. What made them stop taking such a great opportunity seriously enough to meet their deadlines?


As an agented author now, I’m starting to see how this can be. I’ve achieved one goal—I signed with an agent. That only means there is more work to be done to find a publisher. And if/when I find a publisher, it will mean more work to prepare my novel for publication.


It’s a whole lot of work, and there are still a whole lot of junctures at which I could fail. It’s easier not to finish, to leave the project in limbo, than to step up to the plate, as it were, and swing my heart out.


But easier can’t be an option for me. Jimmy’s right: “The hard . . . is what makes it great.”

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