Welcome to Never-Ending Editing Syndrome Anonymous, also known as The Writing Group that Suffers From WAIT I CAN’T SEND THAT OUT YET IT’S NOT READY YOU CAN’T MAKE ME STOP EDITING *CLING*!
*ehem.* As this is our first meeting, and I understand we’re all feeling a little uncomfortable, I will break the ice. *deep breath.*
Hi. My name is Ava Jae and…and I suffer from Never-Ending Editing Syndrome. There. I said it. Wow, I actually said it.
Now many of you are probably wondering what Never-Ending Editing Syndrome is and how you magically arrived at this meeting, when you have no memory of signing up for such an event. As the latter is not really that important, I’ll just address the former.
There are many symptoms associated with Never-Ending Editing Syndrome. If you suffer from more than one of these, you probably are infected:
· Telling friends, family and anyone who will listen that you’ve finished your final edits of your WIP only to resume editing a few weeks (or days) later.
· Asking beta readers if they could look over a few chapters again because the version they read was three or four drafts ago.
· Moving that deadline over because it’s “just not ready.”
· Panicking after you send out an excerpt and doing another emergency edit even though it’s already too late and—AW CRAP IS THAT A TYPO?!
· Inexplicable sobbing.
· Recurring nightmares of that rejection or scathing review because of a misplaced comma on page fifty-seven.
Now of course, you are probably wondering what the cure is. So am I. Let me know when you find one.
UNTIL THEN! There ARE ways to fight it. It’s difficult, I know, and sometimes it takes a little pushing from someone else. But NEES is NOT a death sentence and it CAN be overcome!
Here are some strategies:
- Stick to your goals. This means not allowing yourself to push a deadline over. When you hit the deadline, guess what? You’ve met the deadline. Stop editing. Like now. I see you still reading. STOP!
- Trust your beta readers and critique partners. If you have a critique partner that rips your work to shreds and points out every glaring plot hole, good. Hold on to them. They’re invaluable. After they’ve gone through your manuscript and you’ve made the necessary changes, trust your readers. Chances are, they enjoyed your book, so don’t make any more changes. I know it’s tempting. Really, I do. BUT STOP MAKING CHANGES!
- Complete this sentence: I will be done editing when ________. Now fill in the blank. Maybe when you get five positive responses from betas. Maybe when you’ve made your cardboard antagonist sympathetic. Maybe when your writing isn’t pretty anymore (more on that later). Regardless of what your overall goal is, fill in the blank and still to it. The only unacceptable answer is “perfect.” DON’T FILL IN THE BLANK WITH “PERFECT” OR I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND DROWN YOU IN SPARKLY CONFETTI!
Finally, remember this: your book doesn’t have to be perfect, just enjoyable. No one’s book is perfect. NO ONE’S. No one expects yours to be, either. Make it the best you can, then let it go.
Do you suffer from NEES? What symptoms have I missed? What other strategies do you suggest?