Well, maybe it’s not terminal, but it’s permanent. My diagnosis came through. I’m suffering from RISD. It may not be lethal, but it’s definitely frustrating.
This new illness – RISd – Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder, means that my tolerance for revisions is very low.
So, because you won’t find RISD in any search engine, I’ll define it here for you:
RISD, or Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder, is a chronic illness that plagues writers, often causing them to have little to zero tolerance to revise or edit their current work in progress. This disease can be mild, giving the writer at least a few hours to work on their wip, or acute, leaving the writer with no option but to work in bursts and fits.
There are stages for RISD, and this is how it starts:
Every time I finish the first draft of a book, I flounder. The need to get the story polished is there, but I find a million other things to occupy my spare time with.
2- The loss of focus.
After the first stage, RISD progresses to the loss of proper focus. Sentences that need re-writing will go unnoticed, as well as details I’d know, but can’t figure out at the time unless a certain amount of rest goes by.
3- The need to desperately fall asleep.
If I keep on pushing, eventually I start dosing off. Sometimes I just grit my teeth and go back where I think the loss of focus began and start again. However, RISD is very sneaky, and things become so repetitive they turn into a lullaby.
4- Mushy brain cells.
Whenever I get determined to get at least a certain amount of pages done, I’ll force myself from that wonderful nap, grit my teeth, drink my coffee and force my attention right back where I’d stopped. And my brain cells turn into a soggy mush, or, depending how hard I’m working, get fried to the point I have trouble – for a second or two – recalling the names of my kids. Note: This final stage is the nailer. If I let myself get to this part, my tolerance for revisions are shot and I need to put my wip aside for a few days (weeks if the cells get fried).
**So there it is, my new diagnosis for a new illness in my long list of disease collection. My RISD is acute and it’s not fun. I have no trouble while I’m drafting a story, I can write well into the night. But when the revisions and editing begin, I simply lose my rhythm. I’ve learned that my tolerance level is anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
What about you, do you have RISD? Can you work on your draft, revising, editing and pecking away as long as you’d like, or do you have a limit?