I’ve been spending a lot of time reading writer magazines, books and online forums about book publishing over the past two months. When you spend most of your time in hospitals and rehabs (I’m hanging out with my mom while she is recovering from an accident), you can almost drive yourself crazy reading self-help articles.
One of these articles was The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing by Janice Gable Bashman and Kathryn Craft that appeared in the November/December 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest. What caught my eye was the following: Resist the temptation to convince yourself your first draft is “good enough.” If you find yourself rushing your editing process just to leap ahead to pursuing publication, look for deeper motivation to sustain you.
While I agree that no one’s first draft is ever good enough for publication, I do think some individuals need the motivation of publication to keep them moving along in the process. While not everyone wants to be a published author (or do they?), the possibility of belonging to the community of published authors is very alluring.
For example, once an author has published their first book in a series (or subsequent books), it is important to publish the next book within a reasonable period of time or risk losing your readers to the next intriguing author waiting in the wings to snag your fan base. Many series writers believe that the next installment should be available within six months to a year.
I don’t believe that the editing process should be totally abandoned, but with the “miracle” of grammar check and spell check, numerous errors can be corrected. In addition, new authors can employ the method of reading their stories out loud to help catch sentences or words that may make reading a passage difficult.
With the tablet revolution kicking into high gear, writers who wish to ruminate about their true motivation for writing may miss the boat altogether. If you wish to write for a living, understand that editing is part of the entire process, but don’t spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about it, especially if you aren’t an editor by trade. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone who can, and then get started writing that next book or short story.