4 Ways to Stay in Love with Your Book While Editing


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So you’re preparing to edit your book. It’s probably been a while since you last set eyes on it. Time has taken the rough edges off your memory of the book. Everything looks bright and positive. The book was actually pretty solid when you left it last time. A quick read through and you’ll know exactly what to do to fix the few problems lurking in dark corners. It’s going to be the most epic book in the history of publishing. It might even beat Harry Potter for popularity.

Then you start reading.

All of those bright dreams are shattered in an instant. Who wrote this pile of rubbish? This is not the book you were imagining in all its perfection. This is so bad it hurts to look at it. Suddenly editing this book doesn’t seem like so much fun after all. It’s going to take ever so much work to make it right. Is it even worth it? Suddenly this isn’t your most favourite book after all. That one about the mutant three legged goat was so much better surely.

Fear not. Most books are pretty rough around the edges when you first start editing. It’s very easy to fall out of love with your book, no matter how great the concept is. But there are several ways to ease the pain of editing and stay in love with your book throughout the process. Here are my top four.

Give your book permission to be bad. This is a piece of advice often suggested for first drafts, but I think it’s equally important to remember this when you’re editing. After all, it’s the same terrible book you allowed yourself to write before. So let it be a heap of rubbish. You can totally fix it all in time.

Make a list of things you love. It’s important to remember exactly what you loved about the book when you’re wading through its terribleness. Make a list of the things that you love about your story. Maybe it’s one of the characters. It could be the setting, one of the scenes in particular, or a relationship. Whatever it is, write it down. Then, when you’re feeling down about your book, you can remind yourself of just what makes this book worth fixing.

Find someone to root for your book. One of my sisters is very good at cheering me up about my books, even when she doesn’t know anything about it. Find someone to be enthusiastic about your book, preferably someone who doesn’t mind listening to you moan about your story regularly. Just having someone to vent to and to remind you of all the good things you’ve said about your book can be a big relief.

Make a physical reminder of your book’s awesomeness. Find pictures that remind you of your book’s setting or characters. Or draw your own pictures. Make a playlist of songs that remind you of your story. Whatever it is that reminds you of your book and characters, gather those up and use them to remind yourself of how cool your book really is.

These are my top ways to stay in love with my book while editing. How do you combat the editing blues? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. I normally don't notice the chinks until I get to editing and realise how "unsalvageable" it is. Getting someone else to cheer you on is super important, as well as letting you know how to fix it -- my first beta reader for my current ms did that and changed my attitude to the ms overnight.

    1. I think everyone should definitely have a cheerleader to help them through the dark moments with books. My sister has a full time job with me. I'm glad you have someone to help you.

  2. Wonderful post, and very very true! Especially the first!


  3. I'm currently editing and am having a little bit of doubt in regards to my work. For me, it's important to realise that at the base of it is the story you are passionate about. I don't find much point in editing up something you don't still have a passion for, because in the end likely as not, for me, I'm still not going to be passionate about it, no matter how beautifully it's edited into shape. I have to understand where my story can go and whether I can take it there, and whether it'll stil be the same thing I want at the end. If I can be sure of that, I can step into editing a little easier.
    Hope your own editing is going okay, Imogen! xx

    1. I totally agree. There's no point editing a book you're not passionate about. I have several books that will never be edited because I'm just not passionate about the story. Keep pushing on with your book. It always gets so much better after the initial doubts, when you start to make progress.

  4. Good advice! My sister is good at the same thing ^_^
    Looking back at Pinterest boards for my stories really helps too!

    1. Pinterest and pictures are so good at reminding you of the awesomeness of your own ideas, aren't they? One of my sisters was kind enough to draw me some pictures of my characters from a series I'm writing, and when I get low, I look at those pictures and feel so much better.

  5. I had someone to really cheer me on when I was first drafting my current WIP, and that was really helpful encouraging me to write and write with an audience in mind. I really enjoyed that immediate feedback, and perhaps I should find someone like that to help me with editing! Editing is a really hard process for me, but focusing on the good is definitely something I want to focus on, and I think these are great ideas to help me get started!


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