Having published my first book ( “Adventures in Palmistry” ) last fall, I’m now in the process of working on my second one ( “The Practical Empath” ) , which I hope to bring out this year. I’m past the writing part of the equation, and am now into the editing.
Ah, editing sweet editing. Where you take the beautiful words and inciteful phrases and glorious passages that you wrote and slice away any and all that is superfluous, like the rind off a watermelon; and then rewrite what’s left to make it stronger/better/tighter.
(Psst… I like writing better than editing. But editing’s a necessary part of the process.)
Any hoo, one problem with editing is letting go of words you love that are not needed. Being willing to start editing.
But the other problem is being able to stop – to not tweak that phrase or polish those words ad infinitum. There are lots of people whose work never sees the light of day because they can’t stop polishing..
And this is where a deadline can come in handy. It makes you focus. It says “There is a beginning and an end to editing, so do what you can with it, and then be prepared to let it go out to the world.”
A lesson that can be useful in life, as well as in writing.
At the beginning of last summer, I was working on editing my first book “Adventures in Palmistry”. I had been tweaking and rewriting and editing my little heart out, and there seemed to be no end in sight.
And then, a friend of mine, Tchipakkan, co-anchor for the Changing Times, Changing Worlds convention said to me “It’s a shame you can’t get your book out for the convention in November. We’d give you a book signing and you could sell it at the con….”
And, at that moment, clear as a bell, I heard a little voice in my head say “Can’t get it ready for November? You just watch me…..”
I went into edit overdrive. I completed “Adventures in Palmistry” and got it into production. And the first copies were available the week before Changing Times, Changing Worlds…
How does that apply to you? Well, if you’ve got a project that you’ve been meaning to do, giving your self a deadline is one great way to get moving through the process. It can be a deadline with external consequences or rewards, like the convention was for me. It can be an arbitrary deadline, like first draft by the end of next month.
The important point is that giving yourself a deadline can bring your writing to life…..
So, what’s your deadline?