What I Learned After Writing Five Books (About Editing Mostly)

I consider myself a newbie author. Meaning, I’ve got a lot to learn, and with every new book, comes new lessons learned. Here are a few that stuck with me after I completed Book #4 – SLIGHTLY MURDEROUS INTENT:

1. Please, PLEASE, please don’t edit the first draft while you write. If you do, you risk not expressing what is truly in your heart. So what if the draft’s a little rough around the edges or even all over? Go for it because you are not only allowed a second chance, but many chances to make corrections and edits;

2. Don’t wait until right before a deadline to start writing or those many chances I just mentioned will diminish. Which brings me to this quote by Douglas Adams:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

I like the concept and the whooshing is intriguing, but the reality for me is, I love the satisfaction of beating a deadline. Or at least, getting to it on time. If the deadline passes, this is what I feel like doing:

Yep, climbing up to the treetop and hiding out.

3. I believe in flexibility, in one’s physical and mental capacity, in eating, sleeping and practically everything, but writing. If you truly want to reach “The End”, a schedule is a must. For instance, schedule in one full hour of writing. Or two or six. If that doesn’t work, schedule fifteen minutes. And don’t waiver.

You can eat…or drink after the allotted time. Trust me. The satisfaction of actually doing it is incomparable. Doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write something. Know why? Yep. You can go back and edit to your heart’s content (or close to it).

4. Last lesson for today: After you’re done with final edits, you’re not. A publisher once told me to edit the book from back to front when final edits are complete. I dragged my feet (or my fingers, in this case), but I did it, back to front! And you know what? I found errors I’d missed. Not many, but still.

A little effort can go a long way!

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