As you guys are well aware, I have created a 1st draft for a book that’s been floating around in my head for a while. Since completing it and going through the first draft for any errors and mistakes so it would be ready to send off to a publisher. I’ve been rewriting and adding scenes too as a part of my editing process, but I now have this nagging fear that every word I’ve written is somehow horseshit and isn’t worth any agent’s time of day.
How can I say that? I don’t know, it’s easy to pick apart an entire manuscript when you’re the one writing it. Some of these mistakes I’m sure are small, but I’m overanalyzing every single plot bunny and trope worrying that it’s not going to be good enough. Since I’ve been having this fear, I was thinking I’d share with you guys how I’m slowly trying to conquer this fear so I can get this out to a publisher without having to feel the need to give up entirely on it.
It’s Okay to be Hard on Yourself Within reason, that is. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you’re going back over a book you’ve spent creating, and during the editing process it’s actually best to be hard on yourself. Some of the greatest writers of our time were hard on themselves to the point of throwing their works away, so you’re not alone in this feeling.
Get Someone to Read Over It Sometimes all you need is a good friend to take the time to read it and to be honest with you on your writing. You don’t want someone to sugarcoat it and make it seem like your writing is going to be the next Lord of the Rings, but it’s nice to have someone who takes delight in reading your genre of work because they’ll be able to give you an honest opinion. It’s okay to having a few people read over your story and give you different opinions from a broad perspective.
Take a Step Back It’s easier said than done to take a step back from your work if you’re on a deadline. However, I always feel that taking a walk or getting a cup of tea is the easiest way to recenter and come back to editing my writing with a clearer mind. If you’re not on a deadline, take a day if you must but after that come back to it. I don’t want you to feel as if finding perspective on your writing should take months, because I don’t want you to forget your masterpiece. Just take a moment to breathe.
Keep Writing Don’t forget how you got to this point. Write another draft of the same story if you have to, but I feel like my anxiety over my work is best managed when I’m focusing on another project, like my blog for my story and vice versa. Write to your heart’s content! Just as I said in the earlier paragraph though, don’t forget about why you are here, in your personal editing room. You want this book to be the best form of itself and that means you’re just trying to nurture it with the same care as a parent would be giving to a newborn.
Remember, you’re going to fall and get a few scraped knees during your first novel. Rejection is going to be a part of the game but that’s okay! You’re still trying to figure out the ropes in the editing game–we all are.