Talisman, part II: Revision

new revision mug!

Remember the mug that broke…? The one that was my writing talisman…?

The idea of a writing talisman took the form of 2 Zabar’s mugs in NYC 2 years ago, when my writing (accountability) partner/friend and I were exploring Manhattan. I had vowed to complete a draft of my novel, and she had a deadline to finish her second. We discussed a partnership; she and I would encourage each other throughout our respective novel drafts, and update each other with word counts. We were on a high. We spotted a legion of Zabar’s mugs at…Zabar’s. They were $2/each. It was a no-brainer. We were giddy with optimism. We bought one each. We blessed them. We blessed our novels and our writing.

My Zabar’s mug served me well while I wrote my first draft. It sat, in stoic silence, as I puttered through my draft, and it was there when I, in a state of disbelief, admitted that I had a first draft in front of me.

I left my old Zabar’s mug in California when I moved out to NYC. And bought a new Zabar’s mug. It broke, as if to say it wasn’t signing up for revision. Or as a kind friend put it, “It means your creativity is explosive!” Whatever the case, I freaked out a little.

But then, it turned out that my friend’s mug also broke awhile back; she said she didn’t have the heart to tell me when it had.

Sometimes, the old talisman fulfills its purpose. Sometimes, the old talisman is a $2 mug, and it’s bound to break.

My friend came out to NYC again. We vowed to get revision mugs for our novels-in-progress, both in mid-revision. The revision process is lonelier–there are no clear milestones to mark your way, no word counts. There’s not much a writing accountability partner can do in the revision stage, save for occasional encouragement. For me, it’s real work. It’s working on the stuff that I knew would be hard the first go through. It’s addressing character development and plot holes. It’s holding back on line editing until subsequent revisions. It’s discipline. I need a talisman more than ever.

We got the mugs. We’d forgotten our quest for revision mugs until we stepped into The Strand–and right there, in front of us, were a whole lot of mugs. It felt right. Those were our mugs. The ones with owls on ’em. I pointed and let out some sort of squeaky sound. The mugs were $11.50/each. “They probably won’t break this time,” I said, in order to qualify the price.

And revision continues.

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6 Comments

Filed under Novel, Revision, Writing

6 responses to “Talisman, part II: Revision

  1. I’m currently enjoying a bowl of writing ice cream topped with inspiration banana slices and the bittersweet chocolate revision sauce.

  2. I heart owls. And mugs. And writing.

  3. Your writing is beautiful! As always.

  4. Pingback: No iPhone 5, NYTBR Has A Hater, and Gandhi Book Gets Banned

  5. lila

    when your revision talisman mug has served its purpose and you need a new writing talisman, perhaps this one — http://therumpus.net/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=64

    • @Lila: izzat the “Write Like a Motherf*cker” mug? 🙂 I have that one! It’s awesome. But there is a weird requirement to my “good luck writing mugs”: they have to be bought simultaneously with my writing bff. 😉

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