Monday 12 September 2016


with Dee Scully

Dee Scully's Revision Checklist
Are you a plotter? An obsessive organiser? Do you struggle to move on from one chapter to the next because you just know there is something that “needs to be tweaked” in the words you wrote yesterday?

I am a plotter and an obsessive organiser who is currently struggling to finish my manuscript because I can’t let the last chapter go. I spend most of my time revising what I wrote yesterday or making copious notes about what needs to be fixed at the earliest convenience (usually at the most inconvenient time), because somewhere in the dark recesses of my subconscious, doubts creep in and niggle at my confidence, eroding any possibility of moving on! A little voice inside my head tells me that my character isn’t being true to herself, or the GMC for my villain is weak and dragging my storyline down, etc…

I know what you’re thinking. “Wow! She’s nuts.” And yeah; you’re right. I am. Being obsessive is keeping me from finishing my manuscript and ultimately keeping me from submitting my work and moving on to the next story percolating in the back of my head.

A half-dozen or so published authors have also told me to move on. (Michael Hauge, James Scott Bell, Cherry Adair—I love and admire you all). I’ve tried to comply. I’ve even tried a 12 step program for alcoholics (even though I’m not an alcoholic) and numerous self-help websites for obsessive compulsives (such as Psych Central). They’ve all been very informative and have helped me outside my writing life.

So far, though, nothing has penetrated the thick carapace of my skull. (I’m so sorry Michael, James, and Cherry. I have listened and I am trying.)

Image courtesy of Dee Scully
I’ve recently decided (as of right now) to embrace my nuttiness. Instead of obsessing over my obsessing, I’m just going to go with it…sort of. I’m still going to write my lists and revise every day. After all, what I’ve been doing—trying to follow the path that everyone else has taken—is not working. While I am decidedly nutty, I am not insane.

From here on out I will write a list at the end of each writing session of what I need to work on. The next day I will spend a portion of time working on it, marking off the list what I’ve achieved. When my allotted revision time is up I will move on to the next chapter.

This may not be the best way to write. It may not be the way the greats do it. But it’s the way I will do it. In the end, how I write doesn’t matter. It’s that I do write and that I eventually get to THE END.

Do you follow 'the rules' of how you should write?  Are you hung-up following the rules, or have you learned to follow the beat of your own drummer?

I love to love…myself. It’s not always easy to love me, but who will if I don’t?

I love to laugh…at all the mistakes I’ve made in the past and how I’ve grown from them.

I love to learn…ways to make me a better person. Self-help books like The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman have helped me personally and professionally and even improved my writing!

*For anyone needing help with alcoholism or obsessive compulsion, please check out these websites for more information:
Alcoholics Anonymous
Australian Psychological Society 

Check out my weekly Write NOW memes on Instagram.  Created for writers new and old!
Dee Scully
Historical Romance Author
Twitter:  @DeeScullyAuthor


  1. Hi Dee, thank you for sharing what you are going through. Maybe the answer lies in submitting the manuscript, even if it is flawed. It is part of your writing journey, and needs to reach a publisher so your journey can continue. You have so much to give. I hope you submit it soon. Best wishes, Sharon.

  2. I love your idea of having an allotted time for the revision, and then *moving on* to the next chapter. Otherwise you get totally stuck! What a fabulous tip, thanks Dee!

  3. It's so easy to fall into the never-ending cycle of re-writing. I think limiting your time on it is a good idea. It will help you slowly break the habit without having to go cold turkey but.... I hope you will send it off for publication soon. The story and the author deserve it.

    It took me a long time to send mine off as I had a fear of success. Now it's done and the book has been published there is another sort of terror looming for me - will this book be as good as the first. Writers are full of terrors (why is that?). Good luck Dee.

    1. Thank you Cassandra!
      LOL- maybe we're full of terrors because we have huge imaginations...we can think of endless possibilities. But that would mean we can think of the positives too!
      Your new book will be even better than the last!!

  4. Hi Dee, I'm an almost obsessive list-maker so I really like your idea of making a list of what to do tomorrow at the end of each writing day. Knowing there's something to start with when I go into my writing cave will hopefully stop me from procrastinating!

    1. List making is my stress relief--LOL.
      I hope it helps your writing to flow and we see your next best-seller on the shelves very very soon!!

  5. D.D. what do your critique partners say? Do they believe your manuscript is ready? For some that external approval is enough to get them moving. For me (& I think probably you too) the external ok is nice but I need the 'click' moment...where I read the chapter and know it's exactly as I envisioned it. Making my to do list is helping me get to that click point a lot sooner though. I hope it helps you too!

  6. No, it's not just you. That's what a good crit partner should do.
    That's an excellent blurb to give to potential critiquers! You can give them my Revision Outline to guide them too.

  7. Hi Dee. I know full well the trap of rewriting and rewriting. My current wip has been a wip for some time but the extra work on it has transformed it from the 'rough coal' to the story it's meant to be. Great critique partners were and are a great help. Now close to the finish line, it's the final edit before I submit. I love your idea of a list of things to do the next day before going on with the rest of the story. Agree with Marilyn, it's a great weapon against procrastination. Will definitely do this. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Enisa! So good to hear that I'm not the only one with the 'revision compulsion' but even happier to hear your crit partners helped get you thru it and you're on your final edits! That's exciting! I look forward to reading it in print soon!!


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