The Struggles of Editing or Second Guessing Myself

I have finished my first draft manuscript of my YA novel “A Day in June”.  I am the type of writer who doesn’t outline, I just sit down and write – let my story take a life of it’s own.  Ahhh, but their is a price for that type of writing — it’s called EDITING. I have attended conferences, read articles and books – gotten all kinds of editing advice.  The best book I have found, is a book my husband bought me for a Valentine’s Day gift called, “Revision and Self-Editing” by  James Scott Bell.  I only wish I knew where that book was right now – probably hidden under my Elements of Style or Webster’s Dictionary.  Hmmm,  did you catch that I noted my husband bought me the book for Valentine’s Day – he knows I’d rather have books than flowers.

The book by James Scott Bell is chocked full of useful editing advice and help.  There are even exercises and assignments to do – to keep you on track.  The most usefull tid-bit I’ve found, so far, is to keep your lead character moving forward – toward something.  Make sure there a plenty of obstacles in his/her way.  I have used the information in this book and created a checklist for myself when editing (i.e. is my tense consistent throughout, am I using an active voice). 

So, why am I ripping my hair out?  It’s the negative voice inside my head telling me my story is no good, no one is going to read it, no one will care, oh and by the way your  main character is lameSo how to get rid of the negative?  As soon as I hear it I switch over and repeat to myself: my story is good, people will clamor to read it.  If that doesn’t work, I read a few passages to my cat who sits next to me and my dog at my feet – they look at me and nod with approval.

I would be interested to hear what helps you when the negative thoughts slip into your head or how you get through editing!  Please share!

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2 Responses to The Struggles of Editing or Second Guessing Myself

  1. Oh, I definitely relate to getting those self-doubting thoughts! I haven't mastered them to the point that I never hear them anymore–I wonder if that is even possible? But I do similar things to you–try to argue the negative thoughts out of my head, replace them with positive thinking. If I'm just in a funk and can't shake it I take a break from writing and do something active, then maybe read something that might inspire me, and then get back to it. Sometimes too I think those thoughts can be helpful, in a way. They're challenging me to do my best work. It's just when they become paralyzing or I keep rewriting the same sentence over and over and over that it's a big problem.

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