I love to write. It’s one of the few things that I truly enjoy doing. Despite that, it’s still work and requires discipline. I spent a good part of the week stalling, refusing to work on my manuscript because I couldn’t work on it the way that I wanted.
I prefer to edit on paper. Periodically, I print out my MS, hand-edit it, and tab it with about a billion flags – sometimes I even color code it.
My last round of edits led me to rearrange my entire timeline, add a week, and introduce two new characters. It was really exciting. However, after adding all of that information to my digital copy, I still had pages of notes that I had to tweak – words that were missing (this is why I harp on you about reading out loud), words that needed to be changed, dialogue that needed to be cut – tons of stuff.
I didn’t want to do all of that extra work. What I wanted to do, was print out a fresh copy of my MS and read it from beginning to end. I wanted to see all the changes and move through the new world I had created.
But, I couldn’t because I still had all of those annoying little flags staring at me from my current copy.
I finally buckled down and got to my edits. My word count keeps jumping up and down but it doesn’t matter. Every time I delete a word or a sentence and that word count drops a little further, I remind myself how much better it’s getting. Cutting is necessary, it hurts sometimes, but it has to be done.
Becoming a good writer is a discipline. Write, write, write and then read, read, read.
enter Your homework: What have you been avoiding doing? Have you edited recently? Done a solid read through from begining to end? Fact-checked all of your information? Whatever it is you are avoiding doing to make your writing better, go do it.
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