Lessons from the editing process

I am writing my first book. I started compiling ideas in 2016 and did most of the writing in 2017 and 2018.

Now that I’m going through the editing process, I see that the art of writing is not simple at all. I now understand why this can be such a challenging mission. It’s still fun. Don’t get me wrong.

In this entry, I want to document all my thoughts and experiences so far.

My work in progress consists of short stories with different characters and situations. Although the plots are not interconnected, they have one thing in common: they all went through traumatic experiences that changed their lives and try to regain peace and make sense of their lives.

I have 25 stories to edit and polish. A couple of weeks ago, I started with the first one, and it was difficult. I doubted my writing skills, my storyline, and my main character’s personality.

As I kept working, I celebrated the fact that the editing process exists. As a writer, you have a big responsibility with readers. Your story has to be clear and structured. You don’t want them to find plot holes.

You’re also allowed to be picky about the direction of your work. Doing your best is the only option, and as you show up every day to improve your writing, ideas will fall into place.

It’s all about trusting the process.

I also came to realize that, in order to gain confidence for editing purposes, reading is a key element. Austin Kleon, one of my favourite authors, says it constantly:

If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.

It’s always a good idea to have a book in your hands as your work in progress evolves. There’s a permanent connection between reading and writing. One can’t exist without the other.

When I was a journalism student, I had the opportunity to sit beside one of my instructors while he edited my articles. That’s how he liked to provide feedback, and I will always be grateful for those sessions. Ever since those days, I haven’t forgotten his advice:

“Treat every paragraph as a mini-story. Think of every sentence as a punch; it has to impact the reader.”

What’s your advice for the editing process?

2 thoughts on “Lessons from the editing process

  1. Here’s how I did it:

    1) Be sold on the plot of my book.I had to love it before I wrote it.

    2) Know the beginning and the ending. I had to be sold on both.

    3) Who is the protagonist?

    4) Who is the villain.

    5) Am I a panters or a plotter? Answer: Plotter. A chapter plotter.

    6) I do not plot the entire novel. it will change and I have to change with it.

    My question to you: Do you have a plan before you do this?

    1. That’s awesome, Bryan! These steps provide clarity and structure. Step number six strongly resonates with me. When writing a story, the only constant is change. All actions and all characters are in motion and directions change in ways that can be really satisfying.

      To be honest, I need to plan more for the sake of clarity. Sometimes, I start writing without knowing what the end would be like. Sometimes, it’s not so clear who the villain is. I think it’s a great idea to think and write down those thoughts as a guideline while being open to changing things as the story evolves.

      Thank you for sharing your process!

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