Dear Editor: My Words, Not Yours

When you rewrite even part of my work, it’s not mine anymore.

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I have never taken a professional editing class. I have never been formally instructed on how an editor is supposed to treat another writer’s work. But I have worked as an editor for four years now, and I have never been told it’s OK to change someone else’s words.

When I say this, I don’t mean an editor is only allowed to modify spelling and grammar. It’s the job of an editor to make sure a piece of writing fits into a publication. Occasionally as an editor I will rearrange words in sentences to help them flow better. I will remove unnecessary words (that, very, double or triple adjectives). But there is a big difference between editing a piece of writing for clarity and flow … and rewriting something someone else has already written.

I’ve encountered several – yes, more than one – occasions in which an editor rewrote enough of my original piece before publishing – without consulting me – that my initial reaction was simply, “That’s not what I wanted to say.” As an editor, I can understand why that might end up happening. But as a writer, it’s not OK. Just because I can see why you’d make a mistake doesn’t mean I can accept it and walk away.

You know it’s not OK to change a direct quote – or at least, I hope you do. Really, what’s the difference between rewriting a quote to say something completely different and changing my words so the piece as a whole has a whole different meaning?

So a sentence I wrote didn’t make sense. Ask me about it. So it wasn’t long enough. Ask me to add more. Too long? Help me trim it down. Not a good lead? Help me write a better one. I’m tired of the editorial process always being rushed so there isn’t adequate time for improvement. When you rewrite even part of my work, it’s not mine anymore. You might as well take credit for it, because you never explained to me what went wrong or allowed me to fix it in my own words, and therefore, I’m not going to be satisfied with the final product.

Stop changing my words. That’s not your job. If you don’t like the way I’ve written something, then don’t publish it. This may be “the way it’s done” in whatever organization you work for, but I don’t care. I think it’s unacceptable.

I get that time restraints often prevent you from doing things the right way. I’ve been there. But unlike you, I care about the writer and what they have to say.

When I have the freedom to edit according to my own parameters, I will make sure to work with every single writer on their work until it is exactly what I need for my publication without adding a single word that writer didn’t write.

You are an editor now. If you want to write something, write something; do the work on your own. Don’t rewrite my work and call it mine. I may have chosen the wrong words or done something differently than you would have preferred, but if it’s that much of a problem, I can’t keep writing for you. If you want to stifle all creative freedom – everyone else’s but yours – I can’t be a part of it.

Writers – stand up for your words. They matter now more than ever. If someone else won’t let you write what you want to write, write on your own. Say what needs to be said. Write what needs to be written. If it’s that important to you, let it be heard.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Resist that Urge to Delete Everything and Start Over

Welcome to hell.

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If you have ever looked over something you’ve just finished writing and thought, “This is horrible, I want a do-over,” then congratulations! You are just as critical of your own writing as every other writer out there.

Welcome to hell. Or as some prefer to call it, editing something you just wrote.

This urge to want to scrap everything and start again is possible to resist, but it’s hard. Because deep down you want to have written something REALLY good. And when it doesn’t seem to have turned out exactly the way you thought it would, giving up starts to seem like a completely reasonable option.

Don’t give in! Here’s how to resist this temptation and give yourself a little confidence boost.

Start each writing session with your favorite scene or section

When we’re working on a story, sometimes we end up writing out of order when we’re inspired to write a specific scene or section at a particular time. It’s out of these kinds of sessions that some of our best writing often surfaces. These pieces of writing, therefore, might end up becoming our favorites.

It’s both healthy and motivating to return to these scenes when we start to doubt ourselves. Before you start writing, and once you’re finished for the day, go back and read through your favorite scenes again. Remind yourself that, while not every part of your story is the best you could have done, some of it is good – at least in your own eyes. That matters. It builds confidence and provides reassurance.

Jot down specific things you want to improve and take them on one at a time

When you’re almost finished writing or you’ve already started the editing process, the critic inside you immediately bursts through whatever cage you’ve somehow managed to keep him in so you could write without losing your mind.

He is mean. He is over-critical and he will make you want to quit. Don’t let him.

As you start to find things big or small about your work that you want to fix or change, mark them or write them down. Go through the entire thing without actually changing anything major. Once you’re finished and you have your list, start tackling each thing one at a time. It’s less overwhelming and it helps keep you focused on details you want to make better.

Remember that no first draft is a good draft

You aren’t going to write the perfect draft the first time around. It just isn’t possible. It has nothing to do with your skill level or how much experience you do or don’t have. First drafts are supposed to be imperfect. Part of the writing process is learning from your mistakes – and then correcting them.

Training yourself to write imperfectly is challenging and is a mindset that takes time to get used to. You just have to learn to keep moving forward even when you know something isn’t exactly the way you want it to be yet. It’s a process. There are steps and layers. But it does get easier.

Give your work a chance. It’s not nearly as awful as your inner critic thinks it is.

Image courtesy of Ervins Strauhmanis/flickr.com.

Novel Editing Tips for Writers Who Hate Self-Editing

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Many writers also love editing. But they don’t always love editing their own work.

By the time you’ve finished a long-form writing project, it can feel like you’ve already read the entire thing over and over again a hundred times. To go back and pick it apart seems like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

If you despise self-editing, but still want to touch up your novel (or any project really) before taking your next steps, here are a few tips to help get you through it.

Outline after you’re finished writing

Seems a little backwards, doesn’t it? Aren’t you supposed to outline your story BEFORE you write it?

Well, you can. But some writers don’t like doing that. The benefit of outlining AFTER you’re done writing is that you can use your literary analysis skills on your own story without having too many tenth grade English flashbacks. It helps you pay attention to various elements of your story as a whole rather than focusing too much on small things like spelling.

Use this technique to make sure all your loose ends are tied up. Spelling and grammar can be fixed easily by a copy editor, but if your story has plot holes, it doesn’t stand a chance in the publishing race. Even if your end goal isn’t to get your book published, quality is still important (and essential, if you want anyone to read and enjoy it even just for fun).

Give yourself a wide deadline and take it slow

Editing a book can be overwhelming regardless of the word count. Whether you have a 50,000-word novelette or an 110,000-word monster novel, that’s a lot of words to pick through in any amount of time. You might feel totally motivated at first. You might read and copy edit half your book and then realize you really do hate what you’re doing (it happens). You might just stop.

Give yourself a deadline – a faraway deadline that gives you plenty of room to take things a few pages at a time, if you have to. Work slowly toward that date: there’s no rush. But do your best to work on it a little bit every day, so you’re still making progress, even if it’s gradual. You may not feel like you’re getting anything done. But you’ll be finished before you know it.

Choose what to focus your edits on and stick to it

There’s more than one type of editing when we’re talking novel revisions. You can edit for content (making sure everything makes sense and that every element is consistent). You can edit for flow on a small or large scale (do sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc. flow smoothly from one to the next?). You can copy edit. You can check your facts (if you did some light research on something scientific but didn’t have time to get into too much detail while writing).

The reason a lot of writers hate self-editing is because they try to do every single type of edit at once. Don’t do that! Pick one, stick with it straight through, take a break and then repeat the process with a different kind of edit. Revisions take a long time. There are multiple rounds to the process. It becomes easier if you take it one thing at a time. Edit spelling and grammar first, if that’s going to prevent you from doing any other kind of edit. Then move on to content. And so on.

You CAN do this. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s time-consuming. You’ll probably end up doing a lot of rewriting, adding, cutting. This is a good thing. Polishing is necessary. No first draft is a “good” draft. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It means it needs some work, and if you want your book to be the best it can be, you WILL find the strength to push through it all.

Want more novel editing tips? Check out our Five Stress-Free Steps to Revising Your Novel.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Solution Saturday: Editing My Book Is Too Overwhelming

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Deciding to write a book is the first of many treacherous steps aspiring novelists take on their journey toward conquering the novel-writing monster. It’s tough. There are always emotional roller coasters along the way. But finishing a book, for real, is worth the exhilaration that comes along with it.

Until you remember you still have to edit it. The whole thing. By yourself.

Editing a first draft is one of few activities writers have to physically sit down and do alone. While other writers can provide support, and some might even offer to read that horrifying first attempt for you, no one can revise it in your place. And with a whole book in front of you to make better, well, you’re probably not feeling as confident as you did when you finished writing it, are you?

It’s going to be okay. We’re here to help. 

Solution 1: Take a break between writing and revising

Writing a book is no small feat: as a writer, you know that better than anyone! When you finally finish your masterpiece, give yourself time to step back and congratulate yourself on your major accomplishment.

You don’t have to start editing the second you finish writing. In fact, you shouldn’t. It’s always better to walk away from a finished draft and come back later with a fresh perspective. If you’re afraid you’ll turn around and never look back, set a date in the near future when you want to go back and start the editing process. 

Solution 2: Edit in smaller pieces 

Let’s say you have a completed, 60,000-word novel staring you in the face when you do sit down to edit. That’s a lot of words to reread and revise, and if you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to get through it all—if you even can—we understand why you’re overwhelmed!

You can’t look at 60,000 words and dive right in: it’s just too much. Instead, break that up into smaller editing projects. Take it one chapter, five pages, 1,000 words at a time instead. You can even block out just one or two hours a day specifically for editing, if that’s what works best for you. Find a way to make editing a daily task without shoving it aside because you can’t do it all at once.

Solution 3: Set a reasonable “done date”

It’s very easy to say you’re “working on revising your book,” but sit down, reread a few pages and move onto something else. To keep yourself on track, it might be a good idea to give yourself a “done date”—the day by which you want to be able to stand up and shout as loud as you can, “I’M DONE!!!!”

Dreams have no time limit: goals do. Turn your dream of writing, editing and maybe even publishing a book into a goal by giving yourself one big deadline and smaller ones along the way, such as, “I want to be halfway done editing by Thanksgiving.” Or something like that.

You wrote a book. You poured your heart and soul and tears and probably a lot of coffee into making it happen. Now comes the hard part—but you’re not alone. We all write and revise. We all somehow figure out how to do it without [completely] losing our minds. You can, too—and if you need support, just leave a comment. We, and your fellow NR readers, are here for you!

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

There’s One Part of the New Edition of “Looking for Alaska” I Almost Like More Than the Book Itself

blog0625 Yesterday afternoon John Green teased us with the “possibility” of Looking for Alaska movie news. Since then he has officially announced that a movie is in the works, and though he’s had mixed feelings about it since handing over the movie rights, he’s probably just as excited as we are (well, I am).

Alaska was not only the first book Green published, but it also happens to be the first book of his I happened to read. Which explains why, even though I don’t buy “doubles” of books or read them more than once (with a few exceptions), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a 10th anniversary edition.

I read it straight through, cried like a baby and felt my love for writing and editing take flight again.

There are a lot of books out there, I know. This one is probably one of my favorites though. I fell in love with it all over again—faster, harder the second time, even—when I got to the back of the book for the new edition’s “extras.” I hadn’t paid much attention to what those would be before I got there. I fell for it from the outside in, which you can’t really count as judging a book by its cover since I’d read it once before (loop hole).

What I found back there? I liked it almost as much as I liked the book.

Real-World Editing

I’ve been a magazine editor for over two years now, which doesn’t seem like a very long time unless you truly understand how much daily work goes into the process (a lot). I’ve been an “unofficial editor” longer than that, because not only do I love ideas and words and storytelling—I also love refining a finished product.

So if you have your own copy of the 10th anniversary edition, you know why I was so intrigued.

The new edition includes notes and excerpts from Green and his editor, giving readers a glimpse into the revisions process and how difficult it can be to take a good story and make it good enough to sell. I can’t remember off the top of my head how many times he had to rewrite one of the shorter, yet one of the most significant, scenes in the story (no spoilers, but if you haven’t read it, why are you here??), but it took multiple revisions to get it where it needed to be. They had to count days and keep track of dates.

To me, this was eye-opening enough to motivate me to keep working on my own book, even though I’m not working with an editor. You don’t think about how much work actually goes into a book when you’re reading it, sometimes not even as a writer. I enjoy a good story, and just because I’m an editor doesn’t mean I can’t separate my editing brain from my reading brain (though it does creep in with a criticism every now and then, and typographical errors drive me absolutely insane). I loved seeing this. I needed to see it. I’m sure not a lot of people even looked at these excerpts. But I did.

Why It Matters

While I do love the story and it really spoke to me, rereading it at a particularly rough patch in my life (I’m happy, just stuck in a rut—we’ve all been there), I’m fascinated by how stories transform from first to final drafts. It’s one of the things I love most about being an editor. I can evaluate where a writer is at the beginning of an internship semester and watch her develop her skills and improve significantly by the end, from week to week. Even from raw draft to article. I love my job because I understand what it’s like not to realize your own shortcomings until someone else offers to help you fix them up. I think novelists and their editors go through similar processes.

Green has talked before about how Alaska started and how much he struggled to get a full story on paper at first. I think this is also something else readers forget: writing a novel sometimes takes years before it even gets to the revisions stage. Editors don’t get enough credit. They’re the ones who help transform books from good to better to astonishing. I love how this edition of the book highlighted the importance of a relationship between writer and editor, even if that wasn’t the original intent (or maybe it was, I haven’t done my research, I apologize, it’s finals week—my excuse for everything lately).

I have such respect for successful authors because they’re the ones who are really willing to go through revision after revision to make their stories the best they can be. You can’t work with an editor and expect everything to be perfect the first, third or even fifth time around. Criticism can be hard to take, but you learn over time how important it is to take it seriously, not personally. I don’t ask for a lot of feedback for my own work (maybe I should get into that habit)—not because I don’t want it, but because I want to have a finished project to work with.

I’m just like you—I struggle with time management and juggling everything and trying to keep writing toward the top of the to-do list. But it took years for Alaska to become the book we know it as today, and even longer for the promise of a movie to unfold. I can wait a little longer, until the end of the week when I get a short break from school and can focus on writing and editing and all the things that keep me going (including these posts, so if you’re reading, I appreciate you, I really do).

Love&hugs, Meg

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.

How Editing Helps Refine the Skill of Writing

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There is a reason the best creative writing instructors form peer review groups. A student joins a class to “learn how to write better,” usually not realizing that in order to “be better,” you have to put your own notebook down and look over someone else’s.

The key to successful writing is remembering there is always room to improve; you can always become a better writer than you think you are right now. Refining that skill is a life-long process, and stepping out of your role as a writer and playing the part of an editor is one way to keep your mind ahead of your hands.

Here are three ways editing makes us better writers.

Awareness of Common Errors (and How to Fix Them)

When we limit ourselves to staring at page after page of our own writing, we start to gloss over the common style and even grammar mistakes we make. The one and only downside of reading professionally published writing is that you’re seeing the finished product, after it has been picked apart and reconstructed maybe six or seven times. All you see is the (hopefully) error-free work, and it’s easy to forget no piece of writing starts out that way.

Almost more effective than having someone else point out these shortcomings, seeing someone else make similar mistakes broadens our editorial lens and helps us to recognize common mistakes when we return to our own projects.

Shifting the Focus Off Our Own Work

Writing an original piece, whether it’s an article, short story, poem or full-length novel, is enough of a roller coaster. Going back and staring at the same paragraphs over and over again is like an elevated straightaway, then a downward plunge, then a slow climb—and repeat.

Editing our own work gets very old; exciting; then it drags us hopelessly along, either leaving us thinking we’re good enough to get published or we should just trash the thing now and start over. Taking time to close out our own documents and give our exhausted brains and eyes something new to look at is not only refreshing and motivating, but also beneficial for both the editor and writer.

Experiencing the Other Side of Criticism

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing, how many pieces you have or haven’t published, how many times you have or haven’t been rejected: taking criticism is hard. Every writer wants to believe the time and effort they’re putting into their work is making a difference, and when someone hands back a draft with corrections and suggestions clogging the margins, it’s discouraging. Often motivating, but still disappointing.

Probably the best way to learn how to handle criticism from someone else is to practice dishing it out yourself. Taking the time to read someone else’s work and practice giving feedback the way you would want someone to give it to you serves as a much-needed reminder that constructive criticism is literally in an editor’s job description, and you might be a great writer, but you’ll never be perfect.

Writing is hard; editing is harder. You won’t make it very far in your career if you try to maintain one without the other. Balance your writing with editing others’ work, and sometimes without even realizing it, your skills in both areas will improve quickly. It’s worth your time; you might even find you like it.

Image courtesy of Novel Revisions.

The Difference Between a “Proofreader” and an Editor

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I recently applied for a part-time job proofreading academic papers. It would not help me pay off my student loans any faster (sigh), and the position does not extend beyond turning on Word’s TrackChanges feature to make anonymous suggestions in a vibrant color of my choosing (pink is preferable, obviously).

The opportunity intrigued me, enough to spend three hours on a Sunday completing a test proof, for two reasons.

One, because I would not mind doing my own research and/or becoming a professor someday, both of which involve familiarity with academic writing style, format and the ability to critique in something other than red pen.

Two, I am, when I am not working or sleeping on trains or tossing and turning trying to come up with new topics to post here, an editor; sometimes the “art of proofreading” gets lost in the shuffle. I need balance. I need to exercise my hypersensitive grammar-correcting muscles.

If you’re not an editor already, you might not know the difference between someone who proofreads in their spare time and someone who bears the title of Editor on their bottom-of-the-wallet business cards (no judgment: I don’t even have any, and not because potential colleagues have taken them all). There is, in fact, a difference.

The biggest variance: it takes a degree in English and the ability to flip through a style guide to proofread a paper. It takes a lot more than that to be an editor.

A lot more.

A Proofreader Reads; an Editor Analyzes

This is not to say a proofreader doesn’t critique content for understanding and flow. I’ll keep using an academic paper as an example. If a paper doesn’t make sense to a random grammar guru, it won’t make sense to a professor or committee or another random specimen on the Internet.

Simply, an editor takes this process a step further by examining what, for example, an article is saying, what it means, what it means to the person writing it, and what it should mean to the audience it is intended for. This takes breaking a larger piece up into smaller parts (think of it in terms of cooking). A proofreader hovers on the surface of this process; an editor dives in headfirst, with no life jacket.

A Proofreader Makes Suggestions; an Editor Sets Goals

Something I struggled with when I first started out as an editor with College Lifestyles was giving consistent feedback to the same writers over an extended period of time. At that point I was hardly used to critiquing my roommate’s papers without ripping them apart insensibly, let alone helping someone improve their writing skills from week to week. An editor can’t just crank out a string of TrackChanges and expect that to make a difference on its own.

I am probably a bit obsessed with setting goals (yes, there used to be a Bucket List here; yes, it started getting a little personal and is now tucked away safely in a more secure location, insert sad violin music), and I probably drive my writers deeper into insanity by making them set their own, but being that motivator is what makes the change. It’s not in a proofreader’s job description to do that. There’s just not room. 

A Proofreader Keeps It Professional; an Editor Gets Personal

Read the rest of this section before you start freaking out. “Getting personal” does not imply breaking the barrier of a professional relationship between editor and writer. Working with people my age, sometimes it gets hard not to break down that wall, but for the sake of productivity, you have to keep it there.

By “getting personal,” I am of course referring to the art of seeing a piece as the product of someone else’s extended thought and effort. Through the eyes of a proofreader, a paper is a piece of academic thought written for academic minds to process. To an editor, a piece breathes. It has substance beyond black-and-white content. Because you’re bound to have even if only a slightly closer connection with a writer than a proofreader does with a client, you can, and should, recognize and highlight the traits of the writer that come alive in their work. This is beneificial for all sorts of reasons, which I’ll have to touch on in another post because I’m nearing PTL (post too long) status here. Sorry.

I’m promising here an upcoming post on how editing others’ work improves our own ability to write and critique ourselves. In the meantime, if you see an opportunity to edit—even if it’s just a friend saying, “Hey, can you look at this? It’s a mess”—grab that opportunity like it’s the only one you’ll ever have.

Your first “gig” doesn’t have to be paid or even official. As of this moment, I have only ever been paid to copyedit for a student paper. I have not been paid a cent for my work as en editor. Yet I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything vital to my future success as a professional (maybe?).

Get into the habit of moving beyond marking up a page with a pen, no matter how small the task.

Editing goes deeper than catching spelling and grammar mistakes. In my opinion, it is one of the toughest, most well-rounded, most rewarding jobs you can score as a young adult. Insert idea for another post here.

Stop this madness. Go edit something. Edit the heart and soul out of this post, if you want. Do it. Do it.

Do it.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.

 

Revisions Are a Trip to Hell and Back: How to Survive Editing an 80,000-word Novel In 10 Easy Steps

1: Do not panic.

Now that I’ve decided to do one last editorial comb through Reminiscence, the 83,000-something-word novel I wrote last summer, I’ve realized several things. One: editing is the worst part of the writing process. It’s like ripping apart your art into tiny pieces and trying to put them back together a different way than they were before. It’s time-consuming, depressing, and it makes you feel like a complete idiot. I seriously feel like the worst writer ever today. But it’s all worth it in the end.

2: Separate your drafts.

 You can’t just have one file on your computer with your book on it. You should have as many as you need—the first draft, the one you save triumphantly when you tap the last period; the first draft edit, the one you pick through to find typos and spelling errors; and then, you should have several others; the ones you comb through vigorously, rewriting sections, changing names, deleting chapters, etc.

I didn’t start doing this until a few years ago, until one of my English teachers told me it’s healthy to go back and look at how you’ve improved as a writer over time. When I realized I couldn’t do that, since I’d made all my changes and then saved over the old text, I started hitting “Save As” a lot more frequently.

3: Do not trust Spell and Grammar check.

It will not catch your night/might typos, wordy paragraphs, or run-on sentences. You have to pick through the text on your own to find these easy-fix mistakes. Besides, when it underlines the last name you made up fifty thousand times, well, that just makes you want to turn it off anyway.

4: Take your time.

I usually go chapter-by-chapter–especially on the novel I’m revising now, since the chapters are so short. Sometimes I take breaks in-between, and sometimes I don’t. If I come across a chapter that I know is going to need some serious reconstruction, I skip it and keep going. So yes, saving the difficult parts for last is your best bet. I’m still trying to figure out Chapter Two. It’s severely wounded.

5: Don’t give up.

Your novel is your baby. Just like writing, if you abandon it in the middle of revisions, it’s like leaving it out in the cold without a sweater. It needs you to help it improve and grow. Once you’re done with it, it really doesn’t care what you do with it—within reason, of course. But until then, keep at it.

6: No novel is perfect.

I find imperfections in published novels all the time. So what you’ve got on your screen in front of you has absolutely no chance of coming out perfect. Being picky is necessary when revising, but being a perfectionist will only prolong the process. Do your final revisions, be happy with what you’ve got, and move on.

7: Never delete your documents.

To this day, I still regret deleting the first “novel” I ever wrote. I was fourteen, a young writer, and embarrassed with my eighty pages of blah. So one day I just deleted it. And now, even if I would have wanted to, I can’t go back and look at how far I’ve come since the beginning of my freshman year—the beginning of my quest to write a decent novel (still trekking through valleys, but at least I’m out of the swamp). Don’t ever delete anything you write, even if it makes you cringe. You never know: it may come in handy some day.

8: Let your friends critique it, even if you hate it.

If you’re lucky enough to have friends with lots of time on their hands, see if they’ll read your masterpiece. Even if it’s just a chapter, a section, a page, or a sentence, anything helps. As an artist, your mind is never going to be fully satisfied with what you create. Therefore, you can’t always see how good your work actually is. Having someone you trust read through it may just boost your confidence—and they might even find a few little things you missed while you were in hell (revising, of course).

9: Once you’re done, don’t go back.

Even if it’s been months, and you’re itching to read your novel, don’t. You will always find something wrong, something you don’t like, and will want to fix it. This is BAD. You’ve already been through revisions, the equivalent to a root canal—don’t make yourself go back. Leave it alone, and let other people enjoy it. If, that is, you decide to follow suggestion #8.

10: Be proud.

You wrote a novel! Not only did you sit down and get it all out, but you sat down and revised it! If that’s not an accomplishment, I don’t know what is. There are a lot of people in this world that would never have enough patience to do what you’ve done. So celebrate! Have some ice cream, or go out with some friends. After all, you’ve just finished writing a novel—what else are you going to do?

Now it’s time to follow my own advice and get back to editing. Good luck! I hope to see y’all on the other side.

Love&hugs, Meg♥