A Writerly Crisis

4:52 AM Gemma Fitz 2 Comments

You were going to get a nice, calm post on theme today. But that fell through because it was taking too long to write I've had a crisis and I need to talk about it. And yes, this might be a bit boring. If you want to skip it, you are entirely welcome to. Maybe we'll talk about theme next week.
So, as many of you know, I finished the second draft of my WIP recently and read back through it this past month in preparation for editing. And before we go any farther, I need to clarify that the "second draft" was a rewrite, not an edit or revision.

Now, confession time. *whispers* I've never done an official edit. Phew, there, I said it. As I just mentioned, I've done rewrites. Which kinda count, but not really. They are two very different things. As I have recently discovered.

I'd been putting off editing for a while, but tonight I got all pumped up and motivated, listening to Audiomachine and Thomas Bergersen, and I was like, "I am so done with procrastination. Let's just edit this thing." So I pulled up Google Docs (yes, I use Google Docs-- so there), placed my hands on the keyboard, and stared at my finished second draft in dismay.

Because it suddenly struck me that after all the writing, the rewriting, the reading about editing, the talking about editing, the thinking about editing, I had no idea how to edit. There were my words sitting neatly in front of me, just as awful as I expected, and I had no idea how to change them. I knew everything I needed to change and fix and polish but I didn't know how to do it.

A feverish search of Pinterest and Google left me no better off. Apparently no one in the whole history of writing had ever faced this problem before-- or else had never found a solution. Or maybe no one else needed step-by-step incredibly detailed instructions on how to change a single word in his or her manuscript.

I must be a terrible writer. I'm obviously not creative enough to be an author, I can't even make up a system for editing my novel.. And let's not mention the fact that I'm actually running a writing blog when I obviously know nothing about writing? What am I even doing with my life?
Around this time in my frantic thought processes, my sister walked in to go to bed (we share a room), and when I freaked out and basically screamed at her, "HOW DO I EDIT??" she was understandably not impressed and responded with a grumpy, "I don't know."

And have I mentioned that this is my super writer sister who has edited at least five books in her life time? If she doesn't know how to edit, what hope is there for me? I will never learn how to edit. 20 years from now, I'll still be sitting here staring gloomily at the computer screen, still not having edited a word. I should just give up right here and now.

But I'm not going to.

Why? I'm a writer. Writers write. They don't write perfectly, and they don't know everything. They just write. They suck, they cry, they may freak out and scream at their sisters. But they don't give up. The moment they do, they're no longer writers.

So I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep going. After some more intensive Google searching, I was able to find some more specific tips on editing that look vaguely helpful, but even if that doesn't help, I'll keep writing. I'll find a solution.

Because I'm a writer. And that's what we do.

What are you struggling with writing-wise right now? Have you been through the whole editing phase? HOW DID YOU SURVIVE?


  1. Don't worry, Gemma! Editing isn't that hard. It just take a lot of time. The hardest bit is pressing the delete button.
    I think I will actually write a post on my blog abouting editing, broken down into steps, for you. Unforunately, I can't have it up this Monday, so I will send it to you over e-mail as soon as I write it which will be in four or five days ;) Good luck with your editing, and don't stress out over it! In fact, you might want to take a break from your novel. Editing is easier if you have not read your novel for a couple of weeks.

    1. Aw, that's so kind of you!! That would be incredibly helpful. Ahh... another break!! I've been kinda taking an unofficial one for a while now, to be honest-- what with all the procrastination. :P
      Thanks for the encouragement and advice!!


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