Monday, July 11, 2016

Thoughts on Editing

For the past couple of weeks, I have been editing my newest novel. It's a strange dance. Kind of awkward at times, sometimes a bit disheartening, and other times, exhilarating. There are several unproductive thoughts that I've had to push through to get to the next edit. Ever thought this?

 Slashing these words will kill my word count goal.

 I can't get off this merry go round of He said, She said!

 Is this story just soooo boring?

The "what if" monster is tearing it apart--
                        what if she (editor, crit partner, reader) doesn't like it...
                                     what if I am going through all this only to end in rejection...again?
                                                      what if I missed the hint that I was never meant to be a writer     

When I have an editing session that is drowned out by these unproductive thoughts, I simply can't continue editing. Can you? It just feels tainted in a way. Like, I've cheated on my story and gossiped behind its back!

So, what to do when I do this?

1. Close the computer, take a breath, re-enter real life and leave the story world behind for a time.

2. Emote to good friends/crit partners and let them slap me upside the head and say I'm crazy and need to remember that this spiral has not so much to do with the story, but with the writer being overwhelmed, tired, or burnt out.

3. Eat chocolate. Always a remedy...for many, many things.

4. Now, this one is a bit more time intensive...perhaps a bit more practical--but if I really don't feel good about my writing and I think it needs to be edited or slashed further...then, I need to do that. Writing is not a "get it right the first time" kinda thing. It's a process based on intuition, craft, and hard work. Sometimes, the hard work just needs to happen.

Do you have any thoughts on editing to add?

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written seven historical novels and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken


Unknown said...

Thanks, a nice post!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

These are great thoughts, especially on the mindset we need to have for editing our work. Editing is hard for me. :) When I make up my mind that I'm going to do the work? That's half the battle right there. Super post, Angie!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Love this! I've definitely been there!

Pepper Basham said...

What a great reminder! Wow! I think we are our own worst enemies so much of th time because self-doubt seems to be the shadow on the writing journey no matter who you are.

Thanks for reminding us of our options, Ang. Chocolate and friends are always a good idea ;-)

Angie Dicken said...

Glad this spoke to you all! I should have included a #5 that says: Blog your doubts, frustrations, editing woes... that is good medicine! Going to hunker down and get going on these...they are due on Friday!

Dawn Simon said...

Yes, I can relate! I like your tips. Sometimes a walk or other exercise helps me burn off angst, and there's something special about being in nature. (This, of course, falls under your real-life point!)

Cara Putman said...

Sometimes you just have to walk away and do something else to remember why you loved the story and characters. :-)

Anonymous said...

SO needed to hear this right now editing my 110K (needs to shrink) manuscript.
Now all I need is chocolate. Not a speck in the entire house.
(The ironic part of reading this is that I'm procrastinating from returning to my editing. LOL)