Friday, February 7, 2014

When You Need to be Done Editing...

I may have shared this with you already, but I have just-met-my-deadline-early-brain and it's all I can think of. So bear with me.

I have a secret that tells me when I'm finished with a round of edits. Ready? Brace yourself.

When I dislike everything about my story and think it's all utterly horrible and the file should be deleted from all computers everywhere...I know I'm done editing for the time being.

I'm serious! Here's my basic pattern.

Sarah's Crazy Editing Steps...

1. Get edits back. Think "that's no problem."
2. Start making changes.
3. Smile. The story is a lot better with these changes.
4. Frown at the computer. Start to wonder if I'm making more changes than my editor asked for.
5. Start being irritated by 99% of what I've written. Seriously? Was this story written by a 1st grader???
6. Decide the story is terrible.
7. Question my calling and wonder if I should have picked a different dream job.
8. Recognize what I'm doing and realize it's just time to be done editing.

And then I send it in. Yep. Seriously. When I start to think about changing every detail (especially if this is a story that's contracted, which clearly someone liked enough as it was to do that...) I know I'm done.

And while I really wondered if that was weird on my first round of contracted-book-edits, I knew it was okay when it happened this time, because you know what happened after I sent it off that first time, with my first book? I got more edits back. I went through the whole cycle again. Then sent it in. After line edits and all of that were done and I was doing my final read through, you know what? I loved that story. LOVED it. The whole thing. In a completely non-full-of-myself-way, I was so happy that I wrote it (and that my fabulous editor made it a zillion times better!).

So it didn't bother me too much this time when I reached Sarah's Crazy Editing Steps #6 and #7. Because I knew it was time to send it in. And that a few short months from now, I will love the finished product.

The moral of this story? Know when to quit. Know when you've done all you can and it's time to let someone else's eyes have a turn to comb over your story. And don't quit or delete things, or go crazy. After all, we're writers. Anything weird is pretty normal, right? =)

How do you know when you're done editing?


  1. Great point!!! So true. Sometimes you just gotta STOP. lol

  2. I'm so happy you wrote this. Just got the green light from my agent on shopping my book as is. And this was after agonizing that I'd made way too many changes and she was going to regret signing me, etc. This was pretty much my exact process spot-on! :)