Taking a break after finishing a draft is good. Taking a break while in the middle of editing said draft, not so much. If you don’t believe me, here are four reasons to convince you!
- You’ll forget your story
When you get back to a finished draft after letting it rest for a while, you need to get reacquainted with it. That means reading it through and making notes, which obviously takes time. I did this when I started editing in the first place but now I have to do it again because I’ve forgotten certain parts. I have my earlier notes to help but since I have edited some sections already, I can’t remember the whole picture anymore.
- You’re not sure where to start
So, you already edited a few chapters, but now those feel a bit off too. That’s because no story is ever perfect — at least I don’t think so. We’re always evolving and developing our skills, so it’s natural we see our stories a bit differently every time we look at them. For me the biggest question is where to start. Should I comb through those already-edited chapters or simply move on? This ties in with forgetting the story, so I’m hoping I’ll find my answer once I’ve reminded myself of the whole plot.
- Your characters will give you the cold shoulder
After two books I thought I was on good terms with my characters. I know them, how they think and act, but for some reason they’re not very cooperative at the moment. It’s almost as if they’re annoyed at me for abandoning them in the middle of an important process. Maybe they’ll forgive me after a few chapters.
- You attract too many ideas
This might not be a problem for everyone but it certainly is for me. Stepping back from editing gave my brain the signal to start producing new ideas and it’s hard to stop that flow. I’d much rather have a one-track mind about this story, but instead I have a bunch of stories floating around in my head. And it doesn’t stop there! I keep getting new ideas for this story as well and they just don’t fit. All I can do is write the ideas down and hope they’ll soon slow down enough to let me edit in peace.
Did these reasons convince you to keep editing even if it feels difficult? Have you run into these problems before? How did you solve them?
For those who are interested, I’ve been writing every day after setting my new daily goal. So far so good! It hasn’t been much in terms of words, mostly because of the problems mentioned above, but I think I’m slowly getting back to the rhythm.