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Don’t Get Caught Editing

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I know what you’re thinking. No editing? What about all my mistakes? She’s out of her mind!

But listen to me first before you click your mouse button. Many people who write go down this long long road of death. Yes, death.

I can tell you that I rarely go back and reread. I try not to. Here’s why… if you get stuck rereading and reediting your work you will never finish. Some people come to me and ask me how I was able to finish my book. That seems to be the million dollar question. How did you finish it?

I read once that Stephen King said that he was done with a book when he gave up. I didn’t quite understand that when I first started writing, but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. I had to give up and publish my novel because at some point you have to give up and let that novel go. It’s not easy because even when you let it go there’s always something you can do to make it better. Something you can add to a character that can make them have more dimensions. A period or comma you missed or a character that didn’t have a last name… I totally did that in my first novel and no one caught it. Not even my editor. But when they gave it to my hometown newspaper, he tore me a new one. Really.

So start writing. Don’t go back. If you absolutely have to go back then do it only on Friday’s or something. Make yourself a calendar or a sticky note not to go back and edit what you wrote the day before or the week before. Keep writing. Get those thoughts out there. Type ideas at the bottom of the novel. Add notes and quotes whenever they come up but don’t go back.

I did that for a few months when I was writing my first book. I would go back and read about three chapters or so and every single time, I found mistakes or things I could make better. Before I realized it, an hour had gone by and I hadn’t written anything new. Nothing. Nada.

So, yes. I still go back and reread a few pages to remind myself of where I am in the novel so I’ll know where I’m going, but I try not to go beyond that. I try hard to keep writing and to keep getting the story out there. Trust me when I say there will come a time and a place when you will have to go back and analyze it all over again or when you really want to focus on a specific scene and make it better but you will do it when you have finished the book. It’s so much better to do it then instead of doing it every single time you sit down to write.

Finishing the book is step number one. Finish it. Keep writing. Limit yourself from editing. Finish your novel. Get your thoughts out there. You will start to see the pages go from 50 to 125 in no time.

By M Villesca

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