[Podcast] Advice for Rewriting after Your Book Idea Changes

3 honing the writing craft podcast post Apr 22, 2021

By Melissa Parks and Dave Goetz

When you write a book, it often feels like you'll never reach your final destination. It's one thing when you're at mile marker one, and are just starting to write. That's when it's supposed to feel far away.

But when you're well into the book, and your thinking shifts, you might feel like you'll never make it. You're forced to go back and rewrite. Redo work. Get rid of stories and chapters, and add significant chunks of content.

That feels like a breakdown. 

But having to rewrite after your book idea changes is completely normal. In fact, you ought to expect it. The phrase "Writing is thinking. Thinking is writing," is cliché for a reason. It's a universal truth.

When you write, you're forming new ideas that have never been articulated. The more you write, the more you think. The more you think, the more your previous writing needs to be rethought--and re-written. 

Sometimes the ideas change incrementally. Other times, you realize your audience is not who you originally thought it was. Or maybe your thesis changes, which demands you do more research.

Yes, it's completely normal for your book idea to change. In fact, you maybe should worry if you never have a mental shift. Are you digging into the topic deeply enough?

Why Your Book Idea Changes

Feedback is critical in helping you form your thinking for your book. It's a blessed curse. It forces your thinking, which will make your book better. That's the blessing. But it also forces  you to rewrite. That's the curse.

This is an emotionally tough moment. Often you have to tap into that reason you're writing the book in the first place. Then give yourself a break. Accept that this is part of the writer's journey.

In fact, it might be helpful to surround yourself with other writers. Join a writing group, where you can share similar roadblocks and ideas for getting past them. Or, read stories by authors who talk about how they pushed through the idea-shifting, re-writing moment.

Most of all, don't lose heart. These moments are completely normal. There are days when you'll want to stop. Then, get back at it. You're a writer. And writers write and rewrite. People need to hear your words.