This post is going to be kind of short, but I think it’s important. Right now I’m making final preparations for the beta reading of Holding My Breath, and I really don’t feel like it. By preparations, I mean going through with one final round of editing. And every single time I go to edit, I just groan because I’ve already read over this story so many times already.
But yesterday, I actually talked some sense into myself. I was reading another book, and it was so good that I thought to myself, “Dang, my book could actually be this good.”
You see, I was thinking that my book was good how it is, but after reading another book that was full of suspense and mystery and romance, it made me realize how much I’ve been cheating Holding My Breath.
I mean, I want my book to be good. I do. But it isn’t as good as it could be yet. It’s got the potential to be, but it isn’t yet.
And the thing is, why should I waste all of that potential, just because I don’t feel like editing. That’s lazy. It’s an injustice to the book, and to the characters. It’s not that the world isn’t ready for my book, it’s that my book isn’t quite ready for the world.
Don’t worry, guys. The beta reading is still in full charge and starts on Sunday. Everything is going as planned. I’m way ahead of the beta reading. The parts I’m working on now won’t be going up until the end of April, so it’s not like I don’t have time to work on them.
But the point is, I have a great story that isn’t being told in the best way it could. I have something original. I shouldn’t do it halfway just because I can. I need to go all out. I want my book to make people step back and go, “Wow.” I want it to be powerful. I want it to make people look at their own life differently.
But none of that is going to happen if I don’t… edit. Ugh.
And of course, at four in the morning, I’m probably over exaggerating quite a bit on the unpreparedness of the book. I mean, I groan when I think about editing because it means I need to go through it again, showing that I’ve been through it enough times to think like that.
The point is, if you have a story that you are going to tell, don’t do it halfway. Go all out. Make sure it’s perfect. That’s what we all want our stories to be, right? And we can get them there, can get them to be something more than we thought of when we first came up with the idea. But it isn’t going to happen unless we put in hours and hours of work. Weeks and months of work.
But I’ll bet you that if you put in that work, it will feel a hundred times better when you cross the finish line. Every part of your book should be something that you could read over and over and not get tired of it. As the writers, we are bound to get tired of it, because we read through it almost every day. But do you want to make it amazing? Then as you are reading over it, figure out what it is that is annoying you, because it will probably be annoying the reader, too.
Put in the effort. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
Yeah, I know, that means I have to suck it up and take my own advice, no matter how much I’d rather just sleep and read and watch movies all through my spring break. I mean, it is a break… But that makes it perfect for hours of editing work every day… Doesn’t that sound so exciting?
So my challenge for you is to look at your story. Look at it’s potential. Look at all of the possibilities that you have before you. Is it original? Is it keeping you up for countless sleepless nights just so you can push out another couple thousand words? Does is have so much potential that, at one point, you thought to yourself that this one is going to be your big break? If you answered yes to any of those, then get to work. Stop reading my blog right now and work. Stop surfing YouTube and rereading books you’ve already read a bunch of times just to avoid it. I know all of the excuses. I’ve even gotten to the point of dusting door frames as an excuse to not edit. Pathetic, right?
And if you aren’t seeing that potential? If you don’t feel the excitement of seeing what happens in the story itself, not just the glory of writing or being an author, then you are probably writing the wrong story. You probably haven’t found you’re story. The one that drives you crazy. With HMB, I would complain to my friends and family about my characters. Not because they sucked, but because they were so real to me that they were messing up the story. I would keep saying, “And Rusty is just so freaking stubborn that when I actually want her to go, she just won’t. And when I try to keep her in one place, she fights me on it!”
Everyone kept telling me that the characters weren’t real. But they were, to me they were. And they still are. And that’s the point. When I was writing the first draft and I talked like that, my characters were just in their beginning stages. Today they are even worse, believe me. (Worse in a good way)
I guess my point is that your characters should drive you crazy. You should be excited enough about the story you are writing to push out all of that time of painful editing just so one day you can see it in print. Don’t let the road ahead scare you into not going down it. And by scare, I mean make you lazy. Because that’s what I’m being when I don’t go back and look through the book. Lazy.
Get to work. That book isn’t going to edit itself. Make it the best it can be.
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And welcome! I know I recently got a horde of new readers, so here’s a little highlight that you may have missed: I’m hosting a beta reading for my next book, and if you participate you will get to read it for free before it’s out and get your name in the acknowledgements (among other things)! For more information about the beta reading, how to sign up, and what it is, click here.
Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!