April 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's S.G.: Editing Blues

Happy first Wednesday of April! It's that time once again to put myself out there to the world with the support of the Insecure Writer's Support Group behind me.

Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for thinking of this brilliant idea and hosting for all of us insecure writers.

I love visiting writer's blog to see what they're up to. I'm really happy for their successses, progress, recognitions, new cover reveals and new book releases. I love to support them when I can, to post about their covers and new releases. Truly, I really enjoy it. I feel good knowing that I'm helping.

But I can't help but feel frustrated with what I consider my lack of progress. I finished the first draft of my novel last summer. Last summer! I was a writer who was afraid to write and made no progress whatsoever until someone said, "just get it down - perfection comes with the editing."

And so I zoomed through, "telling" my story, until I was finished. Since it is my first novel, I've learned a lot along the way. And now I wish I had slowed down a bit, paid more attention to everything: character personality/flaws, conflict, strong verbs, show don't tell, plot holes, description, setting. Even my first few edits didn't cover all this, because I didn't know how to edit! Well, I think I'm better at editing now.

But now I'm tired of editing and ready to be done! Ready to move on to the next project and to start getting more work out there, and more work done.

I've been reading recently that the successful writer has volume and variety. I've seen it firsthand from blogs that I follow.

I want that, too!

Here are some serious questions for you: How do some of you get so much done? How do you feel about editing? Does anyone else get the editing blues? How long does it take you to edit?


Becky said...

I like editing, because you already have something to work with rather than creating something new (no more sitting staring a blank screen!). But I think I need to get much better at it - I tend to go through and take out scenes that aren't working or work on continuity, but I avoid thinking about the bigger things, character arcs and plot pacing - you know, the actual useful stuff! It's definitely frustrating though, and the thing I struggle with most is knowing when to stop, because really you could just edit forever - it's never going to be perfect! (How depressing, haha)

Tonja said...

Maybe you could set aside the editing for a month and start something new while the last one rests. I like going back and forth between editing and writing.

Michelle Pickett said...

It took me a year to edit my first novel. I'd set it aside when I got frustrated and work on something else for awhile. Then I'd go back to editing with a fresh mind and outlook.

Yes, I get tired of editing. I think we all do to a certain degree.

Sometimes when it seems like someone is getting a lot done it isn't always the case. I mean, we don't know who long they worked on the projects before they were out in the world...if that makes any sense. But I wonder how some people have so many things going at the same time, too. :)

Don't fret. Editing does end (eventually) and you'll have a much stronger piece when you're done.


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love editing more than I like querying. ;)

I working on a book I started over a year ago. It's gone through several massive rewrites, each time the story gets stronger. And right now I'm working on a revision request. It's slow going, but I don't mind. It's more fun that rushing and only getting rejections.

Lady Gwen said...

Becky, I couldn't wait to be done with my first draft because then I would have something down, something to edit. Who knew that editing would take so long and would encompass so much? I guess I should treat this as a learninbg experience - becaue that's what it really is.

Lady Gwen said...

Tonja, you're right. I should just set it aside, but I am just so ready to be done!

Michelle, yeah, I'm sure some people have been at work juggling their different projects for a long time. My next project is going to be two projects, lol!

Lady Gwen said...

Stina, I haven't even queried, lol! I hope I'm not one of those people who can only do one thing at a time and in sequence. And you're right, masterpieces can't be rushed!

M.J. Fifield said...

I currently have the editing blues. Every time I think I get close to being done, my WIP pulls the run out from under me again.

I don't know how people get so much done but I hope to figure it out one of these days.

fairbetty said...

Oh dear, I totally know how you feel. I have trouble once I feel like something is "finished" going back to work on it anymore... and I know my novel is nowhere NEAR finished. But I have to drag myself to the computer and chain myself to the screen to get through any work on it. A good reward system... that's what I need to get through it, I think. Maybe?

Lady Gwen said...

MJ, I know, always something else I think of that needs fixing!

fairbetty, hmmmm, how about chocolate as a reqard? Yummy.

Deborah Walker said...

I don't care for editing. oh, look, a new story-- shiny.

But I'm trying to teach myself to like it. Sometimes you can trick the old brain into liking something by sheer will power.

My secret to getting so much done? I quit my day-job. Hoorah!

Rachel Morgan said...

My editing doesn't take that long, but that's because I take a LOOONG time to write my first drafts, agonizing over just about every word. So I guess a lot of my editing happens as I go.
But I'd also like to know how some people get so much done!

Susan Roebuck said...

Hi - popping in from the IWSG. I quite like editing. It's the first draft that scares the living daylight out of me. I'm terrified I'm not going to be able to write so I mess about until it's too late and time to go to bed! It takes me a long time to write a novel. I've never actually sat and not known what to write (now I think about it), so I don't know why I suffer...every time.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe set it aside and tackle a new project instead?
And if it makes you feel better, I do good to produce a book ever other year.

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

I'm a very slow writer...I just keep trucking a long. It sucks and I get the editing blues, but I know what I want out of this and am not going to stop until I get it. :D

Happy Hump Day!
My blog

Lady Gwen said...

Deborah, lol. Yes, i get distracted by "shiny" things, too. Yay, no more day job, congrats:)

Rachel, next time I'm going to take more time with my first draft:)

Susan, first drafts are scary, too. Heck, the whole writing business is scary!

Alex, I probably should set it aside, but now I'm SO close. Hmmm, my pace sounds like yours:)

Jaycee, I'm a plodder, too. And I'm just going to keep plodding until I get there:)

Elise Fallson said...

I've heard first time writers getting a book written and published in a year and I'm like, pass me your magic wand please. I don't know how they do it. The only time I get a chance to write is at night when the kids are in bed. I'm up late a lot. But as far as the editing goes, I'm just now getting into it. But already I can tell I'm going to need at least 2 maybe 3 more edits before I can call it finished. At this rate, I'll be able to call it finished in maybe 10 years! lol!

Lady Gwen said...

Elise, yes I'd like a magic wand, too. I think I'm on my fifth edit *sigh* and I know I'll need at least one more.

Gwynneth White said...

I have re-edited/re-written the same book five times! I kid you not. Because it had to be right. Doing that, I realised I had not one, but two series of books in my head. Thanks to my editing I now have two and a half of those six books written. Editing IS slow, but it is also what makes a book. And if you are now tired of it, take a break. Hand it to a friend to mull over while you start something fresh. You will be amazed at what some new eyes and some distance can do. Hope that helps.

Lady Gwen said...

Gwynneth, I think I'm on the fifth edit, too! I know I should put it down, but I'm SO close. This will be my last edit for a while though. I'm anxious to start more projects:)

Sarah Pearson said...

I've told myself I cannot write another first draft until I've edited at least one of the ones I already have. Meh. I don't like this bit!

S.P. Bowers said...

Excellent post! The truth is I don't get so much done. Part of it is that I have two toddlers and babysit two others. It's madness and writing time is scarce. The other is that, like you, I'm still learning. I've been working on my current WIP for three years! AT least two of those were editing. I didn't know much about craft when I wrote the first draft so it has take me a while to get it all right (I hope) I should be querying this year.

The most important thing is not to compare myself with others. I get frustrated that some people can crank out a novel in 4 months. I can't do that and I just have to accept that and if I compare myself to them I'll go crazy.

While I'm frustrated at the deadly slow pace, if I'd gone faster I would have made more mistakes, polished less and I know I wouldn't have been able to sell it. For me, this was the best pace for this novel. I hope that my next novel goes faster, but I'm happy I learned so much with this novel.

Sorry this was so long. You struck a cord with me. :)

Lady Gwen said...

S.P., it sounds like you're where I'm at. I learned as I went and I know so much more now. I just know my next book/s are going to be better and easier *knocks on wood*. I don't know how you get anything done with four kids in the house, though!

Lady Gwen said...

Sarah, how many first drafts do you have?! Get to work, girl:)

Clarissa Draper said...

How do some of you get so much done? I wouldn't say I get a lot done but I try. For me, I try to write every day. Something. Have you tried editing and writing at the same time? Edit 250 or 500 words a day and write 250 or 500 words a day. It's possible to do both.

How do you feel about editing? It's growing on me. I love learning new things and I view editing the same way, it's a chance to learn to be a better writer.

Does anyone else get the editing blues? Yes, of course. Especially when I'm working on my 900th read-through.

How long does it take you to edit? The first few edits take longer then the last few but usually I can finish the first few rounds in a month each. I usually do about ten edits total. Sometimes more.

Hope this helps.

Lady Gwen said...

Clarissa, I think that's a great idea to have both writing and editing in process at the same time.

You're right, I've learned a lot abut writing through editing.

Ten edits! I'm on 5 or 6 and so ready to be done. I know I have at least 1-2 more, though.

Thanks Clarissa, all of this is useful information - makes sense.

Old Kitty said...

Hello lovely Lady Gwen!! Your my first Lady and I feel I ought to curtsy! :-) Yay!!

I'm totally useless at creating a voluminous body of work! It takes me two months at least to read one book and so it takes me even longer to write a short story! :-) I consider myself the tortoise to everyone's hare! :-)

I say go for it at your own pace and compare your output to no-one's but yourself!

Take care

Sharon Bayliss said...

Yes, editing generally makes me sad, except for those lightbulb moments when I think of a way to make it better. Good luck on your edits! I look forward to reading.

yikici said...

I have good and bad moments when editing; but overall I do enjoy it, purely for the fact that I can make what I've written down better and sharper and add more punch, drive and show rather than tell (first drafts are very good examples of telling rather than showing -in my case).

Having said that, I do find my writing time gets cut dramatically when I put aside time for blog reading (which I love) and blog writing; so it's getting the balance right; but once I sit down to write/edit I simple lose track of time -it's that wonderful. :)

Lady Gwen said...

Old Kitty, thanks, you're very kind. I'm always comparing myself to the tortoise. Thanks for coming by:)

Sharon, that's exactly right. Editing is a bummer until you come up with a great idea and insert it - then it makes editing fun!

Yikici, you sound like a great editor! I'm like you, my first draft was full of telling instead of showing.