You’ve finished the first draft of your WIP…congratulations! Now enter with me into a new stage–editing. For some writers, editing is the nemesis, but it doesn’t have to drive you insane. Let’s set some practical standards.
First, take advice. You have spent hours writing your piece. You’re invested. It’s hard to separate from the words on the page, but it’s important. Let someone else offer you their opinions. Sometimes as you review this advice, the results seem no less than tragic. Hit pause. Weigh their words. Do they have any legitimate points? Somewhere along the way, you’ll have to determine what advice to accept. Filter the opinions.
Second, look for weaknesses. Every writer has strengths, but likewise, we all have weaknesses. As advice is offered, look for consistency. What seems to constantly bother your critiques? If more than one person points it out, it’s probably not just an opinion. As you review your own work, stop at the paragraphs that bother you. Why does that particular area seem weak? Discover these secrets and strengthen your writing.
Finally, set a schedule. If you’re anything like me, you tend to procrastinate, but consistency is important. Develop an editing routine. Create a list of your greatest weaknesses, and check over this as you’re reviewing your WIP.
When you’re finished, set it aside for a few days. After that time has passed, pick up your manuscript and read it once more. If it still has weak points, edit again. Eventually, you’ll have crafted a piece full of your greatest strengths. In that moment, take it before an agent. Seek representation, and publish the story of your heart.