This week I received the second content-edit review from my editor.
I was excited to see what the feedback would be but at the same time, I was dreading to opening up the email with the feedback.
Every comment and edit can make you feel like your writing will never be good enough.
And just when you think you are getting somewhere with your writing, you feel like you are back at square one.
Yet, I know that all writing is just re-writing.
And of course, each book I have read has been through this same process multiple of times. I am no exception.
All (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) drafts are going to be rubbish or shitty!
So perhaps I just need to get over it and start behaving more like a professional author; to see this as simply the next step or stage in the author journey.
The last two weeks have been blissful as I have had a break from my book. But now the thought of opening up the marked up manuscript (MS) makes me feel anxious and nervous.
I felt such a huge relief when I handed the MS to the editor after four months of editing the book. And trust me, after those four months, I felt like I never wanted to read that book again!
So I enjoyed two weeks of not working on the book and doing other stuff related to writing such as blog posts and marketing stuff.
But now that the edits are back with me I will have to face them and make the necessary changes.
Why am I scared of looking at the feedback?
I guess I am putting it off because it scares me how much re-work I may need to do. Here are just a few of the thoughts racing around in my head right now:
- Will I ever get this book to the state in needs to be in?
- How much more revisions do I need to complete?
- Is it normal to go through so many edits and changes?
- Why do I feel like I am back at square one again?
But I’m not back at square one because editing, just like writing, is all part of the journey of writing and publishing a book.
If writing was hard, then editing is twice as hard.
But at the same time, I’m learning a lot, and my book can only get better.
What was the editor’s feedback?
I got a second content edit, and my editor looked for inconsistencies in themes, narrative and flow of the story.
She picked up loads of valid points, and in particular, areas which I thought were very clear was not clear to her.
This was an interesting point because I obviously don’t realise I am doing this. But this tends to happen to people who have a high level of knowledge in an area and so tend to skip the basics and jump straight to the top-level info which is what I had done in my book.
My editor has pointed these out to me and flagged where I need to break down the content and make it flow better.
I have also included case studies which took for ever to research and it looks like I am going to have to find some new case studies as some were seen as duplicates.
In particular, for a non-fiction book, my editor said it is best to use different examples to illustrate a point because when you use the same person, it looks like an anomaly.
My editor also suggested a golden nugget of a tip that I hadn’t thought about (which seems so obvious now); to include a summary at the end of each chapter.
How to prepare for the emotional roller coaster rides of editing?
#1. Take a break before plunging head first into the edits:
I have not opened the newly edited file as I feel I need to mentally prepare for it first! I know it’s going to be a lot of work and I want to make sure I am in the right frame of mind!
Take a day to just read the comments and feedback from your editor. Sit on it for a day or so to let your sub-conscious process the potential changes. Give yourself some breathing room.
#2. Don’t take the edits personally!
Remember, the feedback is based on your words, not on YOU as a person! Your editor is only editing the words on the page and not you.
Put your business hat on and separate yourself from the words you have written when it comes to editing. You need to think about the reader’s experience and put your feelings aside
#3. Cultivate a successful author mindset
Sometimes I feel like I am powering ahead. Then I look at the feedback from my editor feel like I have been thrown ten steps backwards!
I need to understand that this book and all books go through multiple stages of revisions and edits.
And this does not make you a bad writer. Far from it.
The fact that I am putting in so much effort and attention and using a professional editor goes to show that I am treating this as a professional career.
And to achieve any level of ‘success’ (whatever that is to you) requires a certain amount of effort and commitment. And this is true no matter what career you are in.
#4. Every successful writer has been through painful edits so get over it!
You need to start at the bottom and work your way top. Society is obsessed with hacks and shortcuts to the top.
Any number of smart tools and techniques can get you there. But can you maintain it? That’s the million dollar question.
No shortcut can safeguard your position at the top.
Only cultivating a successful author mindset can help you reach your goals and maintain your position and authority as a successful writer.
#5. This is a journey!
I sometimes keep forgetting how being an author is a journey.
And writing and publishing my first book is just one tiny step on this long path I have chosen to embark upon.
#6. Your editor is on your side!
They want your book to be the best it can be. And if they are a good editor, they will take pride in their work.
Remember, their reputation rides on your book as much as your name does. Poorly edited work can be spotted a mile away and will lead straight back to your editor.
If you choose a reputable professional editor, then you can rest assure that they will be working on your side and with you to help you make this book the best it can be. I use I_AM Self Publishing who are partner members of ALLi.
#7. Even the best books have been through the editing process.
Remember that all books you see on the bookshelves in your bookstore or library have been through multiple stages of edits and revisions. This is a normal process.
So take a deep breath and get back to your edits knowing every change you make is making your book the best it can be.
Take Action Now: Do you find editing a tough experience? What helps you get through this phase? Please share your comments or questions below.