A revision letter is both a terrible and wonderful thing. On the one hand, it means an editor gets your voice enough to suggest changes that will, hopefully, make your work better. On the other, it means you’ve got work to do.

As unpublished or uncontracted writers, revision letters aren’t a part of daily life. Many writers are trying to find their style and voice and dream of the day when an editor makes the wonderful call that says, “I want to buy your book.”

And yet, as you learn when you cross to the other side of the fence, the grass isn’t greener. It’s still grass, and you still have work to do. Revision letters are a part of the, er, yard work (hmm, should have thought this metaphor out a bit more…).

It can be easy to get discouraged when this is new to you. You think you’re the dumbest writer to ever fire up a lap top. You wonder why you can’t just get it right the first time. Sometimes, you need to walk away and think about it. Other times the ideas are flowing fast and furious and you just know you’re nailing it this time.

I’ve been in both states, believe me. Tonight, after frowning over the work yet to do, I picked up Sherry Thomas’s Delicious. And there, in the acknowledgments, this new author who has received many accolades for her work, talks about a 16 page single-spaced revision letter from her editor on the very book I’m holding in my hands. Um, I think I’ll stop worrying myself to death now.

How do you deal with revision letters? If you have yet to receive a revision letter, how do you think you’ll handle it?