Editing. Just mention of the word is enough to send chills down many writers’ spines. That’s because they’re taking the wrong mindset when they approach the editing process. Keeping the following five things in mind during the editing process can turn a frustrating experience into a joyous one.
1. You managed to write all of this!
If you haven’t already, I want you to stop reading this immediately and go celebrate that you finished a project and are moving on to editing. That is a HUGE accomplishment!
All those words (good and bad), those came from you. You poured your heart onto the page and that took guts and dedication.
Always keep in mind that you birthed that manuscript or story into the world all on your own. That is powerful.
2. No one’s first draft is good
There may be moments of greatness in your first draft, of course. But no writer, even professionals we idolize, gets everything perfect on the first try.
It’s a hard pill to swallow when we look back on our writing and admit it isn’t very good—yet.
But that’s the key. It’s only a first draft. No one expects it to be remotely good, let alone perfect. Don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s what the editing process is there for.
3. Editing is the fun part
In this humble editor’s opinion, the editing process is where the fun of writing really begins.
During the writing phase, your mind was throwing out anything it could find at the moment to make your point.
Now is the time to take all that word-clay and start digging in, molding and shaping it into the artwork you imagined. After all, is there anything better than that feeling when a sentence you revised is so good it gives you goosebumps?
4. Editing is NOT a never-ending process
The writing process has a clear demarcation when it comes to an end. All stories, whether short or novel-length, have a conclusion of some sort.
But the editing process… it’s not so clear when it ends.
Yes, you could go on forever making a little tweak here and a small wording change there, but you will need to one day call it quits. Setting a goal and having a specific series of edits in mind can help you draw that line in the sand.
5. All great writers had an editor
With the rise of self-publishing, I can no longer say that every book published has been through the hands of at least one editor.
But I’ll bet any writer worth their salt can point out exactly which books had an editor and which didn’t. The Amazon and New York Times bestsellers? They definitely had editors!
Don’t think you have to or even should go through the editing process alone. Editors are your friends and they serve an important purpose.
Tell us in the comments: What do you keep in mind during the editing process?
Jeanette the Writer is a freelance editor and writer based in Dallas, TX. When not at her computer, you can find her crafting, scuba diving, or posting pictures of her cats on Instagram. Visit JeanettetheWriter.com for more info and follow @JeanettetheWriter on Instagram and Facebook.