The Struggles of Editing Your Own Work

After years of editing my own academic papers, blog posts, poetry, fanfiction, etc, I thought editing/reworking my novel would be easy… *Insert laugh track here*

Full transparency- I’ve found editing/reworking my novel without any feedback to be the most difficult I’ve ever done. It’s gotten to the point that when it comes time to edit my novel, I fold my arms and pout like a stubborn toddler, saying I don’t want to. I don’t actually do this is, but it’d be amusing as hell if I did. The point is when it comes time to edit it, I find it hard to do.

So why are you editing it? Why are you putting yourself through this difficulty? The answer is a simple one- Because I’m not happy with the first draft and the thought of letting anyone read it fills me with dread.

Here’s the worst part. The rational, calm, “normal” side of my brain knows it’s a first draft and terrible, but that the feedback will make it better. But the other side of my brain, where my anxiety, Imposter Syndrome, and fear of failure lives, can’t accept that it’s less than perfect. That part of me can’t accept letting anyone read an incomplete and imperfect draft… so then I’m overcome with anxiety and feeling like a complete and utter failure and fraud.

I’m not bipolar, but this situation is making me wonder if I am. I don’t if other writers have this experience to this extreme or if I’m just bonkers… but right now I’m left with two options-

Option 1- I just let people read the draft as is and deal with the fact that it’s not perfect.
Option 2- I stress myself out trying to make it perfect and possibly never let anyone read it.

Reading over those options makes me realize how much they both suck and I don’t like either of them… so can someone suggest an Option 3? Or offer some advice on what I should do?

Because I’m at a loss and I feel overwhelmed. I guess it really is easier to edit someone else’s work than it is to edit your own…

Anyways, that’s what’s going on with me right now. I hope all of you are doing well and I hope you all have a great week!

15 comments

    • I really should try to find one, but I’ve found with too many of them that ego is involved and some people are like “I can handle criticism”…. when they actually can’t. I can handle constructive criticism that has thought behind it. I can’t handle thoughtless criticism because it shows the other person doesn’t care and if you’re reading someone’s work for the purpose of helping them make it better, you have to care!

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  1. If you’re not satisfied with the first draft, have you taken it as far as you can on your own? Has the editor side of your brain identified exactly what isn’t working as effectively as you would like? I think the answers to these two questions should help you decide on your best way forward. In the interest of full disclosure, my first drafts are so bad, I would walk naked down Main Street before I would let anyone else read them.

    Liked by 1 person

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