What do you do after you write your first draft?
After you’ve slaved over your words for hours on end?
After you have put your heart and soul (maybe) into a story?
What do you do then?
Well, you’ve worked hard on this, obviously, because you’ve reached the end. Good for you!
But does this mean you jump straight to editing?
The first thing to do after finishing your first draft of your book is…
I don’t care how you do your own celebration, but give yourself a reward. Not just, “Good job, now here’s more work to do!”
Take a break from that book for a day or two. Do something non-writing related that’s fun! If writing is all work, you’re not going to love it all that much for much longer.
After you’ve finished celebrating your achievement (good job!) it’s down to get down to business again.
Now, I know that you probably haven’t finished writing your own story, so the rest of this post is for you.
Quick question: when do you usually edit a story you’re writing?
As you write it?
After you’ve written a scene?
Once you’re done the whole book?
I’ve got news for you: there is a time and a place for everything. And by that, I mean there’s a time for writing, and a time for editing.
Should you edit as you write?
Writing uses the creative half of your brain; editing uses the technical half. So first off, you should never edit while you’re still writing a scene. Maybe change the wording of a sentence you’re writing, but after you’ve ended that sentence, don’t edit it. It’ll be hard to get into a good grove and write well, with the writing flowing, if you’re constantly switching the sides of your brain!
Should you edit after you’ve written a scene?
If you’re going to continue writing, don’t stop and edit. Again, it’ll be hard to write well if you’re switching between the sides of your brain. But ultimately, I don’t think you should. Right now, we’re trying to write the first draft, not polish it!
Should you edit after you’ve written the whole book?
This is actually the point of time I recommend editing the most. Editing your writing can discourage you like crazy. Having to correct something you’ve already written makes you feel sure that what you’re writing is garbage. So try to not edit till you’re done the whole book. Even if you’re sure that your scene went by too fast, or it just is plain confusing, or you know it needs to be rewritten, don’t. You can edit later, once your whole story is down on paper. Don’t even reread it until the entire book is done!
Jodi Picoult once said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” This is so true; just remember, you can always edit that bad page. Just make sure that you edit it at the right time. 😉
My Story Update
Well, I have been trying to wade through the editing of my book, but it certainly is not a task for the faint-hearted. 😆 This book is in desperate need of editing, and I’m almost done Chapter Two. Yay??
Just a quick reminder: after this post, I’ll be posting every 2 weeks!
How is your own story going?
Happy Labor Day!
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