Must I Read it Again? #amediting

Frazzled looking woman with goofy expressionEditing. It’s a reality of writing, and sometimes it can be torture. Anyone else out there ever get sick of reading their own work?

Last week I was in hyper-edit mode, going over, and over, and over my manuscript so many times, I cringed at having to read it. Again.

As someone who edits as I write, you’d think clean-up wouldn’t be hard. When the manuscript is done, all I need to do is tweak, tighten, and make corrections suggested by my critique partners. Easy-peasy, right? If only that were the case.

During one of my marathon days of editing my husband asked, “Don’t you have an editor who does that?”

Yes, but I’m doing pre-edits and I want them as whistle clean as possible. I also had a deadline so time was not a luxury I could afford.

Reading the same book three times in three days is exhausting. That might not seem like a lot but keep in mind this is the same book I’ve been plugging away at for an extended time—writing, editing as I write, thinking about the characters, dreaming about the characters, weaving and unweaving plot threads. I’m literally sick of the story right now. I need a break from it.

According to my editor it will be roughly two weeks before she sends her first round of content edits. YAY! That gives me time to start plotting something fresh. I’m excited about the break.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m thrilled with the way Eventide turned out and can’t wait to unleash it on the world when the time rolls around (there’s a creature in it, so I get to use the word “unleash.” 🙂 ). For now, though, I am more than happy to put some distance between myself and the story.

How about the rest of you? Do you ever get sick of reading your own work when in edit mode? How do you deal with it?

65 thoughts on “Must I Read it Again? #amediting

  1. I do get so tired of reading and rereading the same WIP, and I’m happy to hear I’m not alone. I read somewhere that you should space yourself from your writing before you start editing each time. Like at least a week between edits you should do something else. But that’s hard to do when you have a deadline. Also if I worked on new material, I’d probably start getting character names mixed up.

    I don’t do a lot of editing with the first draft. I may reread the previous days writing to get back into the story, and yes, I do make corrections if I see them during that time but I’m not in what I call edit mode.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I normally try to allow for days between editing, but this go-round that wasn’t possible for me. Plus I’m used to reading and rereading a section over to the nth degree before I even send it to my critique partners. It seems I’m always finding something to change.

      It’s good to know I’m not the only one who gets sick of their work. There comes a point when you just want to focus on something new, LOL!

      Thanks for sharing, Kim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mae, I totally relate to this … whilst you don’t want to stop editing, almost in a frenzy, there is a part that almost shrinks back from the book! A strange time! Haha, I’m smiling at your husband’s suggestion … sounds so right, to non-writers. 😀😀 Recently I heard an interview when Ben Okie was talking about his latest book. The publisher have to wrestle it from his hands as he never feels he’s finished editing. He said just as well they took the novel away to print, otherwise he’d only leave a few pages left! 😀 Enjoy, my friends … and really savour that break before the next round! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I could see myself being the same way as Mr. Okie, and saying “just one more go-through” 🙂

      As for my husband, yes—as a non-writer the idea of pre-edits is completely foreign to him, LOL.

      I’m enjoying a nice break right now, but my mind is also busily picking away at plot threads for the next novel. A writer’s work is never done—it’s just nice to shove editing to the background every now and then!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Before I became a writer, I loved to edit. It was my job and never found it a chore. Fast forward to my own work and everything changed. Now, I find different ways to read them. Random chapters, each characters chapters, out of sequence… None of which is ideal, but it does stop me from losing my mind… I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine when you go from editing someone else’s work to editing your own, it takes on a whole new aspect that wasn’t there before! 🙂

      I’ve never tried any of the editing tricks—reading back to front or random chapters, etc. Maybe that would make the marathon days of editing more endurable. I may have to give that a try next time!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Priscilla, I was so close to hitting send without going over it like I did. But the combination of deadline and A-type personality meant I had to stayed glued. I never want to have to do that again, LOL!

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    • Me too, Joan.

      And I remember the welcome pack from my first publisher which included a sentence along the lines of “before this book is ready for publication, you’re going to be sick of it.” Boy, where they right, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I do as well. I tend to edit as I write, then I do exactly what you do. I believe we all find something we can change each time we go through with an edit.

    It’s nice to finally hit the send button. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like you, I edit as I go. And then I give it one final look over before handing it to my critique partners. I do all right until the very final galley, and for some reason, I just hate that last step. I used to put it off until I HAD to do it, but that almost got me in trouble–a long session of hours of reading to meet the deadline–so now I try to make myself do it as soon as I can after I get it. But I still don’t like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My critique partners and I exchange chapters or sections as we write, so they never seen the complete finished novel until it’s published (or in ARC). I prefer working that way so I catch content problems as they happen—as opposed to reworking a thread at the end.

      This time, rather than make the chapter tweaks as I went, I waited until the MS was finished, then went back to chapter one and made the suggested changes. Although if there had been content problems I would have handled them immediately.

      I have to agree with you about the final galley. For some reason, I always dread that one too. I think it’s a combination of having to read the MS yet again, and knowing it’s the final FINAL–that I have to go over it in such excruciating detail to make sure nothing slips through that may have been overlooked!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I go back a few chapters every time before I write to make changes and check consistency. I wind up hating my stories before it’s time to publish, but then somehow, that attitude changes. I like all of my stories after this process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I work the same way, Craig. I go back a chapter or two and make changes before picking up where I left off. It gets me in the mood of the book, the right frame of mind, and also ensures each section has repeated edits.

      I’m sick of the story by the time I’m done with all of the edits, but excited by the time the books are actually published. I guess I need that distance!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about reciting from memory, Teri. Sometimes I don’t even see the words, but just know them in my head. That’s when I really need to slow down and concentrate.

      Also glad you’re excited about my new creature.I couldn’t write the Hode’s Hill series without them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As an editor, I’ve had people (both inside and outside the industry) make similar comments to me. If they aren’t in the writing world (like your husband), I can understand their confusion. But the ones who confound me are the writers who think a first draft goes to the editor. It’s not our job to revise and rewrite a writer’s draft. I’ve lost too many hours on projects to that misunderstood premise. I won’t do it anymore. I now refuse drafts that aren’t ready for edits. (Sorry for the rant; it’s a pet peeve of mine.)

    I know you agonized over Eventide, but I doubt that was necessary. You write clean to begin with, and you polish beautifully. I’m sure your editor appreciates your efforts, and I’m willing to bet you’ll have very little to do when it’s returned to you. Then it’s just the countdown to the UNLEASHING. And I can’t wait!

    I also can’t wait until you start your next project. Super excited for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Staci, you expressed so well what my husband didn’t/doesn’t understand. And yes, I have heard of writers thinking an editor is going to revise and clean up their work. You have every right to rant and I’m glad to hear you’re no longer accepting manuscripts in that condition. I’d be pulling my hair out. Eeesh!

      Eventide was a rough one for me, even though I had a semi outline at the beginning, and another for the last quarter of the book. I’m so glad its behind me and thrilled you’re looking forward to the UNLEASHING 🙂 It’s so nice to hear you think I write clean and polish well. Coming from an editor I take that as a high compliment!

      And I’ve started making notes on the next project. I’m fitting puzzle pieces right now, but I hope to have something to gush about soonish! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Like you I edit as I write. I also send out each chapter to my critique groups as they’re done so that they can love (I hope) it, lol.
    Another thing I do is switch between formats and that can help. I use Vellum and can easily download mobi, epub, & ibooks. Reading out loud helps as well.
    And then know when to say it’s DONE! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My critique partners and I work the same way, Jacquie—sharing chapters as we write. I find that so much better than sending a full ms at the end.

      Good idea about switching formats. I do read aloud, but I normally only read the final galley on my Kindle. In the old days I used to print and mark-up sections by hand. Maybe I need to try that again to mix things up.

      Finishing is always a high-five moment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! I agree with all of that.

      I can’t tell you how many times I find myself second guessing word choices or flow when I’m editing, thinking–Ugh!–is this good enough? But in the end, when all is said and done, I’m happy with the finished product.

      Thanks for dropping by to share!

      Like

  9. God yes. I’m so grumpy at the moment, and the only thing it can be attributed to is my editing. Like you, I edit as I go, and like you, I’m stymied at the amount of editing that needs doing AFTER it’s finished. This is BEFORE I send it off to the pros. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if this writing thing is really worth it… then I get a new story idea and am off running. Gah!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Mae
    I hear you. I read mine three times and then my wife reads it. After that, I order a proof from Amazon in paperback. Soooo much easier to find mistakes on paper. Plus it takes about a week to receive it. I use that time to start my next headache.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Mac! It seems the constant rereading is something all authors must endure. I also like the way you use that week break to start your next “headache” LOL. I’m already plotting mine. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and sharing!

      Like

  11. I’m one of those strange people who love editing, rewriting, and tightening. I also pre-edit as I go, so I don’t go over the ms more than twice before I submit. I NEED to stop myself or I’d pick at it forever. By the time the first rounds of edits start, I’m usually excited to read it again. If left on my own, without deadlines, I’d probably pick at the ms ad naseum..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, I don’t think I’ve ever detested pre-edits as much as I did this time around. I do edit as I go, but I still beat the thing to death at the end before I submit it. I think by the time my first round of edits arrive I’ll have had enough of a break to enjoy the book again, but I definitely like writing far better than editing, LOL!

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  12. Oh, big time. I have to sometimes force myself to edit. However, there comes the point when I know I’ve done enough and it’s time to send it all off to the editor. Once I push the send button, I feel like I’ve got my life back and I’m on holiday. Then, of course, the edits come back, and it’s back to reading stories over and over again while correcting them. And how many times have I been tempted to change things while doing the edits? Lots of times. However, I don’t go there.
    Then there’s the interesting stuff the edits bring. For example, I had no idea what ‘head-hopping’ was until I had my first edits back from an editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugh, I love your comparison to being on “holiday” when you send the ms to your editor. That is exactly what it feels like! 🙂

      Yeah, “head-hopping” is easy to do if you’re not fully focused on POV. Sounds like you have a good editor and that’s so important.

      I do dread editing, but it’s a necessity of a writer’s world. The good thing is that usually when we finish intensive edits, we can unleash our pent-up creative energy on something new!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh God YES, Mae! Editing is pure torture. It takes a special kind of mind to do that on a daily basis and it isn’t mine. I find that if I can take a break from it, even a week, the story is seen again through fresher eyes. Can’t wait for the “unleashing” of your new story! I have to hurry and read “End of Day!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Next time I hope to work my deadlines so that I have time in between readings and aren’t saturating myself with the book. It was so exhausting, LOL!

      And so glad to hear you’re looking forward to End of Day and Eventide. Now I have to get my butt in gear to write something new 🙂

      Like

  14. OMG, yes! And I can’t imaging reading the manuscript three times in three days. Ugh. I do try to change things up when I go through to edit: print on paper in a different font (because it seems easier to find things), read from the end through to the beginning (it’s amazing how well this can work), and my latest discovery was the Read Aloud function in Word. I prefer to let the story rest for at least a week before I go into another editing run. Two weeks is even better.

    Soo looking forward to Eventide (even if I haven’t quite finished End of Day yet)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I may have to try one of these editing modes with the next book. And, drat–I forgot about the Read Loud function in Word. That would surely be a good one for catching mistakes.

      I’m going to work my next book so that I have time in between edits. I’d like at least a week if possible. Those three days were torture, LOL!

      I hope you’re enjoying End of Day. I can’t believe I’m ruminating about a new book–yet again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. And I’m really OCD about that stuff. I honestly could have probably sent the book off to my editor earlier than I did, but I knew if I edited it “just one more time” I would surely find something I missed on the previous passes!

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    • Hi, Nicole. Absolutely! Whether short or long, I think when you read it over and over it gets to the point where you’ve had enough, LOL. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts 🙂

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  15. Oh yes. I get totally sick of it. UGH! By the time I publish my books, I hate them! Ha ha. I give myself mini-breaks between reads and do something physical or get away for a weekend. I also read them in different ways — on paper, aloud, and have Word read them to me — that helps a little. Great image, Mae. That’s what it feels like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know exactly what you mean, Mae! I read my books several times and find each time harder than the previous one. It a process we must perform and do it well for our books to shine. Sigh! Best of luck with it! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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