If you’ve just finished your novel or are about to, this is the perfect blog post for you. What’s next?
That’s what’s next.
No, not really. Next you enter the world of editing and revising your novel. I find myself feeling like I know a lot about this, for one of my novels I’ve been stuck in this stage for three years. I won’t lie and say it’s easy, it’s hard. But it’s worth it when you do finally get through it.
Tip #1: TAKE A BREAK!
Going into your novel just after you have finished writing it, is bad news. You are way too close to your novel to be able to look at it critically. Someone once told me to look at it as if we have two brains: one that we write with and one where we love our story and just want to keep it close because it’s our baby.
There is no right amount of time to take your break though, it’s whenever you feel ready to get back into your novel and look at it critically and rip it apart into shreds.
Tip #2: It’s okay if you hate it.
When I was doing this with my story I began to hate it. The more I was tearing it apart to find the problems that needed fixing, the more I hated it. After taking a break from the revising and editing stage, I realised it wasn’t that story I hated. It was the fact I had to look at my story that way and eventually I got over the hate and began to love it again. So it’s okay if you hate your story going through this. Take a step back and remember why you wrote it. Why you wanted to tell this story.
Tip #3: Finding the time.
Me and a friend were talking about how do we force ourselves to sit down and edit our stories. It’s a good question and at the time I said I tied myself down to the chair and would force myself to do it. That was kind of a joking answer, but it’s true; to get myself to edit, I have to take away every bit of distraction in my life. That is hard. I did it at night when everyone was asleep and I had to be quiet so that was a good time for me to sit and do it. Find time where you can work on novel without being distracted.
Tip #4: Find the best time to work.
This is the tip I say for everything, always always find the best time you work, whether that’s night time, morning, midday, whatever time is good for you. Use that time to edit and revise.
Tip #5: Rewards.
This is a good motivation to work on your novel. I suck at rewards: I change a sentence and decide I deserve a break which then turns into a full day of nothing. So when making a reward system, don’t do them too easy; make them achievable, but not too easy. Rewards can be anything; you eat a sweet, you go for a mini walk, you get a drink. Anything can be a reward as long as it works for you.
Tip #6: Don’t be so harsh on yourself.
I feel like this important. I’ve been working on my story for three years, stuck in this revising and editing process. I wanted the first rounds of edits to be done by 2016 and they weren’t. I felt like a bad writer just because I didn’t get it done and I’d barely looked at my story. I was way too harsh on myself. My friend Chloe (she’s awesome and my sounding board for most of my stories) made me see that although I didn’t meet the goal I had set for myself, it didn’t mean that it will never be done. For a few months I was very hard on myself just putting myself down that I would never get it written. Not the way to go! So remember: don’t be harsh on yourself.
Tip #7: Find a comfy spot.
I don’t think this needs much explanation: if you aren’t comfortable, you will get distracted. So wherever you are comfortable sitting or whatever you are comfortable wearing, do it. It makes this process much easier.
Tip #8: Have supportive people behind you.
It doesn’t matter who they are, as long as they are supporting you and your process of your novel. That’s all that matters. I am lucky to have a few people who are supportive and help me through any blocks I may have or through having a bad day. If you don’t have anyone who is supportive of the process you are going through, go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube; there is a whole community of writers out there who are in the same boat as you. This community of writers is one of the best, someone will be where you are, someone will have gotten to the other side of the revising and editing stage. Someone may just be starting. Having people around you who kind of know what it’s like helps.
So that’s my eight tips for editing and revising your novel. If you thought this was going to be a blog post on how to do it, well unlucky, because I’m still in muddy waters, but I’ve been there long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. I also know there are many ways you can go about editing and revising your story, and it’s just about what works for you. Find that and I believe the process becomes much easier. I hope this helps you tackle revising and editing.
And if you are currently in this muddy puddle…
And to whatever stage you are in your writing: have fun and good luck!
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