What It's Like To Finish A First Edit
Updated: Feb 10
The thrill of finishing my first ever full length novel was incredible, but I did not realize how exhilarating it would be to finish the first edit of that novel.
Completing writing a lengthily piece of work of any kind feels both wonderful and terrifying. When I finished writing 'What If' I first danced around my home, then I sat down and panicked. Before me now sat the task of reading my own work. I was consumed by painstaking fear that I would read it, and hate it. I was worried that I would begin editing it only to discover I had wasted months of my life.
It is because of these fears that I was left overwhelmed with joy when I finished my first edit of 'What If', and found that I had actually enjoyed reading it.
Obviously we as writers are our own biggest critics, and therefore enjoying our own work is both rare and concerning.
I now have a complete novel, a good first edit, and am filled with a sense of "Hey, this is good", all of which could be torn to pieces in a second.
In the competitive world of writing it is very hard to get published, it is even harder still to find a group of people who feel your work is original, clever, and enjoyable. It is for these reasons I cannot allow myself to feel too much joy at enjoying my own work, I cannot let myself believe that 'What If' is truly good because I do not want to be disappointed if or, should I say, when I get a multitude of rejections.
These are rather sober topics though, and that is not what this blog post is about.
This blog post is to simply tell you that editing should not be a scary process. It is incredibly important, though the end is near and the temptation to get people to read your work is huge, a good edit, catching as many errors as you can, could be the difference between you getting published and not getting published.
That's why I'll be doing a second edit on 'What If' before I let anyone else read it.
Although I know that rejection letters and emails are inevitably on the horizon for me, no one can take away the feeling of having read and enjoyed my own work. Of having printed and then hefted the pile of pages that showed, in this physical realm, the sheer size of my effort.
When you finish your first work, no matter the length or style, take the opportunity of a first edit to simply enjoy your work. Take pleasure in your efforts, your style, your story. Save the fine-tooth-combing for your second edit, and remove the stress of getting it perfect in the first.
While working through my first edit I kept a 'bible', taking notes on every character and plot line I had in the story. This 'bible' will be key in my second edit, allowing me to ensure that there is continuity throughout the book, one of the most important things in good story telling, and is one of the best pieces of advice I have for anyone about to tackle their own edit.
I wish you all the best of luck with your writing, and editing, and hope that you shall embrace the opportunity to privately enjoy your own work before anyone else can pass judgment upon it.