On Revision Caves and Taking Care of Yourself by Jessica Taylor



Photo credit: Rsms on Flickr

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, the answer is that I’ve spent most of the summer deep in my revision cave*. Now that I’m peeking my head out, I’ve been thinking about some decisions that have made my time away more manageable. This was a productive and mostly low-stress time, which I attribute to two things: For one, I allowed myself to check out of social media. Second, I splurged on a few things and invested in myself. I hope some of it is useful and inspiring to my colleagues in the revision trenches.

*For the record, these full-immersion revision binges are self-imposed. I just work better when I live and breathe a novel. Everyone I work with is beyond nice, and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to let me work at a more leisurely pace if I asked.

Allowing Myself a Social Media Break

I love social media as much as the next writer, but with good news and bad news coming from all directions—especially during this interesting election season—Twitter and Facebook are providing a little too much stimulation. I have a book out now, so I feel some pressure to keep up with readers’ tweets and messages, but it all became a little too much. So, while I was busy, I let myself check in a couple times a week. I’ve found that if anyone really needs to find me, they do—such a delightful and freeing surprise!

Splurging—or as I Like to Call it, Investing in Me

Nobody would really describe me as thrifty, but I do work hard to only spend money on things that are necessary (or just really freaking awesome). During the summer, I decided to spend on a few luxuries. It started with a few pair of Athleta sweatpants, which are awesome quality, breathable, and perfect for long stretches at my desk chair, but last month, I caved on something bigger—an Amazon Fresh membership.

When I was at my busiest, I tried out a free trial of Amazon Fresh. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a grocery delivery service with free same-day deliveries on orders over $40. I know myself well enough to recognize that eating well is essential to keeping my body well and my mind producing my best work. For me, the actual cooking isn’t the issue, but shopping for groceries is a major time suck. I’m a picky eater and sometimes I go to five stores just to complete my shopping. When the free trial ended, I coughed up the $299 and signed up for a year-long membership. It’s stress-free and so exciting to wake up with all my groceries cold, fresh, and sitting on my porch in their insulated green bags!

These are the splurges that made the biggest differences for me, but I’ve heard of other authors investing in baby sitters, house-cleaning services, dog groomers, etc. The important part is recognizing that what we do is important, and investing in our health, happiness, and well-being is never a bad choice.


Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters who sneak out late at night. Her debut novel, WANDERING WILD, received a starred review from VOYA and is available now. Her next two novels, starting with A MAP FOR LOST GIRLS, will be published in fall of 2017 and 2018 by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin. She lives in Northern California with a few degrees she’s not using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaTaylorYA and check out her website at http://www.jessicataylorwrites.com


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