Morning storytellers and world travellers. I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week.
I’m going to jump straight to it; does anybody else have a love/hate relationship with editing? I certainly do!
I asked on twitter this week, if I’m mad because I am really enjoying editing my novel. There was a mixed response, but overall the general reaction seemed to be that sometimes people love to edit and sometimes they hate it.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to list some of the reasons we writers hate to edit, and the flip-side positive of those points. In other words, a reason to love editing.
1. Editing is not as fun as writing a new story
Most writers are full to the brim with ideas, with new story inspiration hitting them all the time. This can make it quite hard to stick out the gruelling task of editing. I too struggle to put future projects to the side to edit. New ideas are shiny and exciting, and nothing quite beats the early stages of building a world, characters and a story. Editing just simple isn’t the same…
Editing breathes exciting new life into your story
You may be working on the same story, but editing your novel breathes new life into it and makes it exciting again. In editing you are able to make mediocre sentences amazing, turn boring characters interesting, and force slow plot points to be fast and twisty. Your first draft is only ever a basic starting point, but in editing you create your real story.
2. Editing highlights all my terrible writing
Writers, in fact all creatives, are super self critical. It’s just the way that we are. And undoubtedly, when writing the first draft, you wrote some pretty lame sentences just to keep the story moving while you figured it all out. I know I did. Reading my first draft made me cringe in many places, and left me filled with doubt and anxiety that I could ever actually write an amazing novel.
Editing highlights all my amazing writing
Yes, I did just say I cringed my way through my first draft. But even my pesky, self-doubting inner voice was silenced from time to time when certain parts of my writing left me feeling proud. The positive to editing is that you get to see all your great writing, as well as your bad writing. And as you move into further edits, seconds drafts, third drafts and beyond, you start to feel better. You start to enjoy the majority of your writing, not just little bits. And that is really, really rewarding.
3. Editing is a long process, and takes forever
Okay, yes. I’ll give us that, it is a long process. Because the number of edits and drafts you will end up doing is completely unknown. I am on edit four at the moment, but this will not be my last. Everybody is different. And depending on how much free time you have to edit, it could well take a long time. Editing is a long slog, and writers have to kit themselves out with a fierce determination to keep going.
Editing takes you a step closer to where you want to be
No agent or publisher wants to see your first draft. By editing and continuing to craft your story, you take steps closer to your goals. When editing, remember why you’re doing it. Remember how important it is to take these baby steps and to keep taking them even when the going is tough. You’ve finished a novel. This is incredible! So many people start but don’t finish. So you can be sure you can finish your edits too. Keep going.
I really hope this blog post might serve to give you a reason to push on when editing your novel gets tough and tiresome.
Do comment below to share your thoughts on the editing process, or contact me anytime if you’d like to discuss it further.