1. Pappy
    Offline

    Pappy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Hull

    How do I stop self-editing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Pappy, Sep 2, 2014.

    Hello all, this is my first post.

    I have recently taken up fiction writing and have finished my first short story (only took 35 days to write 1700 words...wooohooo!!!). After my initial writing slog, I am reasonably happy with end result and I'd like to start another. However, I've been distracting myself from my second story by making more and more and more and more edits to my first - although I will say, editing is a far better distraction than Facebook.

    Honestly, I don't know what my problem is. Does anyone know what the next steps I need to take to stop editing my own work? What am I looking for? How do I stop and focus on other things? What am I missing?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,827
    Likes Received:
    7,353
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes. Definitely. Walk away. Do something else for several weeks, and let it cool off. When you go back to it with fresh eyes, you'll see right away what needs fixing and how to do it. Without that perspective of distance, you'll just tinker yourself into a corner.
     
    Tesoro, outsider, Pappy and 1 other person like this.
  3. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Are you editing or rewriting, mostly?
    Most of my stories are cannibalizations of each other so I really have to watch that I'm not rewriting new stories, instead of editing what I've got.

    When I write, I usually write a paragraph or scene then edit it to make sure my tone/style is keeping up. I fix sentence flubs & grammar flaws. When the first draft is done I read aloud and edit to make sure everything is smooth. I only add when something is missing. I take away more than I add.

    Because you just started you may need more drafts for it to sound right. I've been writing since I was twelve and just five years ago ( when I was 35 ) I had to write seven drafts for my work to look like it does now after the first draft. But you sound like you're off to a good start, I never managed 1700 words for the longest time.

    I like what Jannert said though - just leave it alone for a while -

    In the meantime maybe do some critiquing on the site. There's nothing for improving your editing and even your writing skills like reading others work with a critical eye.
     
    jannert likes this.
  4. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,827
    Likes Received:
    7,353
    Location:
    Scotland
    You're right, for sure. I have found it SO much easier to edit my own work after having spent more than a year on the forum, doing critiques, reading critiques. I just was thinking about that this morning, actually. It really does help your own work to do critiques for other people.
     
    peachalulu likes this.
  5. Pappy
    Offline

    Pappy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Hull
    Thank you for your responses.

    I'm not sure where one ends and one begins, but I'd say it's mostly editing. I'm usually tweaking a sentence here and there to clarify my meaning or clean up my chunkiness. Every so often I think I come up with more vivid imagery I add that. I think I keep coming back to it out of habit (35 days after all). Maybe I need some methadone.

    I like the advice of dropping it for a while. I think I already knew the answer in the back of my mind, I just needed to hear it. I've been learning a lot through this process...hard, hard lessons....but everything thus far has made me a better writer. Whatever that means.

    I will start giving critique. I'm not sure I could advise as I don't have the chops, but a quote comes to mind:

    "Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." – Neil Gaiman
     
    peachalulu likes this.
  6. stevesh
    Offline

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    Submit it to someone. Rejected or not, at least that story will be closed and you can move on to something else.
     
    Pappy likes this.
  7. Jonathan Poupart
    Offline

    Jonathan Poupart New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I agree and many popular writers do too; they are grateful when a novel is published or their tv show is made because whilst they are always responsible for it, you have to accept that if you revisit your teenage poetry you will want to change it but then it won't be the angst-ridden snapshot of that point in your life. Sure, do twenty drafts of a half-hour show but don't start the second draft until you've written the entire first one or else you will be writing that same piece forever.
     
  8. HoraceCombs
    Offline

    HoraceCombs Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    USA, Illinois Chicago
    You are extra consious about your things. The solution is only that walk away and do something else. Keep yourself busy. At the time of writing think you are writing the accurate thing and it doesn't need any editing.
     
  9. live2write
    Offline

    live2write Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    53
    I face this problem quite frequently. I have dropped many story ideas because of this and I am starting to now get back into it. I started outlining my idea first before I write, that way I do not second guess any ideas.

    When it comes to grammar, read it after a few weeks. You need a fresh set of eyes. Also have someone else read it out loud and see if it makes sense when you listen.
     
  10. Michaelson345
    Offline

    Michaelson345 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    USA
    If you are facing some problem then it is better to go away from that place or that moment or person so that your mind gets set and you can be able to write or do your process in a calm and natural way.
     

Share This Page