on editing

This is what an 80,000 word manuscript looks like.

When I was at university, we had to write eight 1,000 word long essays each semester. My dissertation was 15,000 words. At the time these word counts seemed insurmountable.

When I was doing my postgrad, we had to write four 5,000 word long essays each semester. My thesis was 40,000 words long. I thought I would never get through it.

And then I wrote my first novel.

The final word count was just short of 75,000 words. My second book was a little longer. This third one is longer still.

I’ve written a lot of words over the years and I’ve written three novels. And yet, every step of the way feels as though it is another Sisyphaen task that I will never be able to complete. I’m currently looking down the barrel of a major structural edit of my third book and a fourth book that doesn’t seem to want to get any longer than 30,000 words no matter how fast I type.

But I’ve been here before.

Many times. And I need to remind myself how far I’ve come, how productive I can be, how much I’ve honed my craft over the course of three books (sill lots of honing to be done, don’t get me wrong) and that this is all just part of the job.

Like any job there are good days and bad days, good bits and bad bits. Some days I struggle to find the good bits. Sometimes I think the only good bit is when the book is sent to be edited and you know you’ve nailed it…

But it’s important to enjoy the process

When I was writing my first book it was with complete innocence. I had all the time in the world (it took me nearly four years all in) and I had no idea of the process ahead of me. Truth be told I didn’t think anyone but me would ever read it and if you’d told me it would go on to sell 30,000 copies I’d have fallen off my chair laughing.

But after the book deal comes deadlines and edits of all different kinds (which I’ll talk about in another post) and stress and anxiety that I never thought was possible (particularly as I started writing to help my stress and anxiety ha ha!!).

But is it worth it?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

And I’m trying to remember that as I get out my purple pen, my highlighters, my scissors and stapler and begin the great dissection process that will change this novel forever.

If you truly love what you do, it’s always worth it.

See you on the other side!!

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One Comment

  1. Awesome! Thanks for the encouragement about the process. You can always tell who is writing “for real” and who is not by what they say about their process.

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