Self-Published Author Confesses to Editing Fetish

Edit Ruthlessly

Image by Dan Patterson via Flickr

Question: As a self-published author, I edit and proofread everything I read. I read books, blogs, eBooks, magazines, and newspapers with an eagle eye. I can’t stand to read long-winded sentences. I want to shout, “Say what you want to say and say it!”

My issue is I spend countless hours editing and proofreading my work. Once I begin editing, I can’t stop. What can I do to release my editing fetish? It’s driving me crazy!

Answer: It’s good to edit your work but at some point, you must stop. Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Another alternative is to hire an editor to edit and proofread your writing. An editor-for-hire can make suggestions on sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and point out overused words.¬†An ‘objective’ eye and voice can strengthen your writing.

Many authors and writers are tempted to over edit their work because they want it to be absolutely perfect. If you do this, you may never get your book published. Writing mistakes happen, and they appear in books written by well known authors. The next time your favorite author publishes a book, scan it for spacing issues, typos, and other mistakes. Obviously, a few mistakes here and there haven’t hurt book sales of famous authors. They may receive an occasional email from fans informing them of mistakes, but that’s it.

How to overcome over editing your writing

1. Set a deadline for editing and proofreading your book and stick to it.

2. Hire an editor-for-hire and allow an ‘objective’ party review your writing and make necessary changes and or suggestions.

3. Realize that mistakes happen; it’s not the end of the world.

4. Join a writing group. If you’re already a part of a writers group, ask members to read your book and make editing suggestions.

5. Take a workshop on how to edit your book quickly and efficiently.

6. Attend writing conferences and speak to editors. Ask them questions about their editing practices such as: How do they edit quickly? How many hours do they spend editing? When do they know they’re finished editing a book? Ask these and other questions — get inside an editor’s mind. This will help you curb your over editing tendencies.

7. Hire a writing coach. A writing coach will help you become the best writer you can be. You’ll learn the reason ‘why’ you over edit and how you can ‘shift’ this habit. Procrastination could be the key or fear of rejection.


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