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Editing, editing, editing!

Well, my beloved writing friends, I hope that you had a wonderful and exciting weekend! I spent my weekend drinking coffee, eating candy, and sitting by the fireplace. But that was plenty exciting for me.

Today, let’s talk about self-publishing. Self-publishing is great for many reasons, but one of my favorite reasons is knowing that once I approve of a manuscript, it’s approved. While I believe that most writers, such as I, are looking forward to the day when our manuscripts are approved by a publisher, being able to self-publish is equally as thrilling to me.

But while self-publishing is exciting, I also want to let you know that it means more work for you. Yes, you, the writer. Because, most likely, when you’re self-publishing, you are doing all the editing, design work, and marketing. Which is great! But it’s work. It’s hard work. But it’s worth it, my friend. If you want your work out there, it’s worth it.

So. I’m going to give you a couple of tips about self-publishing.

Tip One:

This is the one tip I want to focus on today – editing. Get comfortable editing your own work. I know, I know – after you’ve written an entire manuscript, the last thing you probably want to do is sit down with a red pen and edit. But relax – you don’t have to use a red pen (you can use any color pen you want). And I’m sorry to say, but your manuscript is probably not going to be perfect the first time around. Just being honest. And you know what? That’s okay! Because editing is fun. Really. Editing is fun! It gives you a chance to rethink and rewrite things that don’t make sense reading the second time around.

Editing is more than just adding commas, quotation marks, and fixing indents (although those are extremely important!). Editing is – at least for me – rereading my work and asking questions through it. Asking if things make sense. Is this scene logical? Does this scene match up with the character's ideals and wants? Is the time span logical? Do I enjoy this writing? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it’s probably time to rewrite some things.

Rewriting is also a chance to explore other options. What if things happened differently? Ask yourself what would have happened if something else happened – if he asked something else, answered a different way, or didn’t say anything at all!

Often, I find that I like the rewrite version more than the original! It’s like this to me: the original version is just getting the initial idea out. Then, when it’s rewritten, now that the initial idea is out, the rewrite is the more polished version. So, keep rewriting until it’s as polished as you want it to be.

The only problem with editing is that it gets tedious, especially fixing commas and quotation marks. It's not as much fun as the writing part. But even rereading and rewriting can get tiring. Trust me, after rereading Undaunted a couple of times, I was tired of reading it. And when I got tired of reading it, it got me frustrated. That’s a good indication that you should take a break. My favorite thing to do when writing essays in school was to write an initial draft and then let it sit for a day. Give yourself some time away from it. That way, you can look at with fresh eyes and a clearer mind.

So maybe you are in the midst of editing and you’re feeling frustrated and tired. Take a break. I know, I know. You want it finished and done and out there already – but take a break. Have some water. Drink some coffee. Have a snack. Read something for fun. Forget about the writing for a bit. Let yourself be refreshed so you can edit better.

Editing is crucial, so take your time with it. Don’t rush the editing process. You have no idea how many times I sent off the manuscript for Undaunted only to find another mistake. Thankfully, the author manager I was working with was wonderfully patient and always understanding. But save yourself some time by giving yourself time to edit properly.

How will you know when it’s done being edited?

For me, it was when my family told me that I was over-editing. There does come a point where you might be rereading and rereading and for some odd reason, everything seems wrong. All your writing doesn’t seem to make sense. If you find yourself having this problem, my advice is to find a trusted friend. Find someone who will be honest with your work and keep it confidential. For me, this was my brother. He was always honest with me, and he always kept my work quiet. I know it’s scary to share your work, but if there is someone you trust, ask them to read and give you some feedback on your work. And then give yourself a break! Give yourself a chance to unwind, so if your friend does have feedback for you, you can accept it through a clearer mind.

And that’s all, my friends. Give yourself time to edit, and don’t be afraid to edit! Rereading and rewriting is a rewarding process; give yourself time for it.

Remember, my friends, you have something to say. You have a story to tell. Just keep writing.

But most importantly, beloved, you are deeply loved. Never forget that.

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

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