I spent the summer pouring my writing energy into my novel. I set myself a goal of a thousand words per day, every day, and it paid off. I had a handful of unproductive days and a slightly larger handful of amazing days that doubled or even tripled my goal, and in three months, I wrote just under eighty thousand words and wrapped up the plot. So I did it! I wrote a whole novel!
Now I have to edit it.
I couldn’t even remember how I had edited my papers for uni, so I googled “how to edit a novel.” I clicked on the first three links that looked useful, and received three sets of advice.
- This is a twelve-step process and it takes a year. Read your manuscript through eight times. Send it to groups of beta readers between each read-through. Be thorough. This process should take a year; why would you want it to take any less time?
- This is a two-week process. Print it off, scribble all over it, transcribe your changes, send it off. Overediting is the bane of writers’ existence. Why would you take any more time?
- Edit your novel in four steps, one of which I have already missed the boat on. Use four different approaches.
That’s my fancy trying-to-look-artistic shot, when in reality I scrapped all the colours and I’m just scribbling all over the pages with one pen, and taking confusing notes in my notebook that I won’t understand later. After reading all the editing assvice, I remembered that I used to always print off my essays to edit them because editing on a computer screen was a terrible brain disaster. So I’m starting there. I’d like to have it in pretty good shape by Christmas, which might be a bit on the quick side, but I do not think that setting a deadline one year from now is going to be in any way motivating for me. I wrote the whole manuscript in three months. The editing should take at least that long, but any more and I will be so bored I will burn it all. I already have a couple of new ideas doing their percolating thing, and I don’t want them to be stuck in limbo for too long.
Even if this book does not make it to the NYT Bestseller list, or even through the gauntlet of a mainstream publisher, I am proud of what I accomplished this summer. I wrote a novel. My two current book-doulas think it’s rough but has a good foundation, and even if it isn’t published, I did it, and now I know I can do it, and I am not ready to give up.
I’m a writer! I wrote a book!