After much procrastination, I am finally back to my last round of edits and I’m pleased to discover it is not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. This is pretty much always the case when I actually get into editing, but every single time I’m looking at the task ahead of me, it seems overwhelming.
When you imagine what it means to be an author, you think of spending your time writing, reading and researching. The truth of the majority of your time will be spent editing your manuscripts. Assuming you enjoy writing, it the the actual work of being a writer. It piles up and glares at you and absolutely has to get done in order for your project to move forward.
I generally have to take a break between drafts. By the time I finish a round of edits on a manuscript I am excited, relieved and done with that story for a while. It’s a good time to work on another project, send it out to beta readers, gather feedback and do some research (or binge watch Netflix and read a few books).
When it all comes back though, I dread the next round as much as I dread the last round. I’ll put it off as long as I can until I’m dying to get the story out there. It doesn’t help that I’m not very productive in the middle of winter.
But it doesn’t have to intimidate me. Yes, editing isn’t work I really enjoy, but just like any other job I’ve had, when I actually get down to it, it flows. Getting on a schedule helps. Removing distractions (finishing any Netflix series that are calling my name). Setting goals for each night’s work.
And with the right amount of time in between, I enjoy being back in the story, even if it is to rip it to shreds, because I like the story I have written. And that is encouraging. The edits are cleaning it up, and making something I like even better.
I’m nearly half way through my manuscript. And this is the last round of edits before I start to submit. I may go back again later but three rounds of edits are all I have to give this book without more outside help.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is growing brighter rapidly. I am making progress and gaining momentum.
Don’t let the idea of edits overwhelm you. The reality is that they are just like housework, filling out medical forms, and to-do piles. They will be accomplished one step at a time and you will be so relieved to have a completed project.
How do you edit? How many drafts and rounds do you work with? When do you know you are done? How do you keep yourself going?