Edits. Edits. Edit. Editing a novel is a long process, and it can be all too easy to become disengaged. Maybe a new exciting idea has formed, and you want to work on that, instead of the novel you’ve read through already 100s of times. But you have to stay loyal to your work in progress. Finishing your novel and it’s edits is a huge stepping stone and learning curve for any writer. But how can we stay motivated during endless editing?
Remember your end goal
When you find your motivation lacking, remember your end goal. Maybe you want to send your story into a magazine, or a competition. Maybe you want to self-publish, submit to agents, or share it on your blog. Or perhaps it’s just something you’d love to achieve. It can be so easy to get caught up in the now, but take a peek forward and remind yourself of why you’re writing in the first place. You can’t publish, or submit, if you’ve not edited your story to a standard you’re happy with. Focus on that goal, and push towards it.
Set mini goals
Does the above point sound a little scary, or a bit much? Sometimes the end goal is so far away that the thought of getting there is overwhelming. Try breaking it down into mini goals instead. Editing a page a day could be a start, and it could eventually evolve into editing a chapter per day. There’s nothing wrong with being micro-ambitious, in fact it has a lot of positives, and can help you stay on track with out feeling under immense pressure.
Oh, deadlines. Don’t we hate them? But they’re important little things all the same. Give yourself targets. These don’t have to be too big, or put you under too much strain. Choose a date by which you’d like to have finished editing a particularly tricky chapter. Choose a date you’d like to finish an edit completely. And eventually, set a date you’d like to send your story into the world. You’ll find yourself pushing forward to meet these deadlines, which can keep you on track and motivated.
Motivation can waver for many reasons. Writers worry, writers doubt their work. It’s natural to fall into a pit of despair when things aren’t going well. So seek feedback. Find a beta reader or a critique partner, and ask them what they think. Not only will they notice mistakes/typos/plot holes, which can guide you through your edits, but they’ll let you know what works too. Hearing constructive and positive feedback is a real boost, and a great way to spur your on.
What could be more motivating than a cheeky treat? Set little editing goals, with a reward in mind at the end. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Maybe, once you’ve worked on edits, you’ll allow yourself some guilt free television time. Or you’ll tuck into a slice of chocolate cake. Or buy a new notebook. Whatever works for you, use these little things and reward your efforts. Writing a book is hard – you deserve it!
How do you stay motivated during edits? I’m in the long process myself, and tips are always appreciated so do comment below.