There's a certain amount of editing and revision that should take place before you submit your work. But there is also the simple fact that all writing can be made better. And better has many different meanings. We could edit our work for years and still not be satisfied with it.
But if we want to work toward getting our work published, we have to learn to call it good enough and we have to decide what we're willing to live with.
That is made easier when we're able to say we put our best work (at the time) into it, we set it aside and returned to it with a rested mind, we poured over it as many times as we had wanted (at least once or twice), and it sounded good the last time we edited it. If we can't accept it as an adequate work, we won't be satisfied.
In order to see your work in print, you need to learn how to call it good enough so you actually start taking a risk and submitting your work instead of shoving your manuscript in a dresser drawer and never looking at it again.
You have to be able to look at it and recognize how far you've come as a writer. How have your skills improved since you started writing for the very first time?
It's quite an accomplishment to complete a manuscript. When it's at a full word count, when you've written a good ending, when you've gone back and brainstormed your first line and reviewed the plot and how the information is laid out, that is something to be proud of.
One of the things to keep in mind if you're over-editing your manuscript is that you're not the same person now as when you started. If you're looking at your novel and wondering how you're ever going to get it right, consider your audience. Will your audience see the same things? Maybe not.
Remember, your readers are reading your book in a matter of days or weeks. You're looking at it from the perspective of having lived and breathed it for the last year (or more).
When it comes to over-editing your manuscript, it's mostly a head game. Do your best work and then send it out. Don't worry about mastering all of the writing techniques and strategies now. You have your whole writing career to learn as you go.
Jody Calkins is a freelance writer and book editor with a passion for finding ways to live an enriched life. Topics she covers include the writing life, time management, and stress reduction, and can be found here: http://jodycalkins.com
Be sure to connect with her on Facebook (@jodycalkinsbiz) and Twitter (@jodycalkins) for daily encouragement and inspiration.
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