I didn’t used to think deciding on “the end” was hard. You’d write the last line of that novel and know that’s where the story should end. This has always been the case for me–I have always known where the writing should stop.
Knowing where the editing should stop is a whole other ordeal.
I have been editing my current WIP for almost six months. I know that seems like a long time, but let me put that into perspective for you: I wrote the first draft in about six months. To not spend at least as much time in the editing phase, to me, is a waste. So much of the story comes to life in editing.
Of course, now there is the nagging question of when am I done? When is it time to say, “I’ve done as much as I can do,” and move on? This one hasn’t been as easy to grapple with. Theoretically, you can edit something forever. There’s always something that can be changed, made better. There is no piece of writing that is perfect, so how on Earth do you know when you’re done?
With my current WIP, I’ve set myself a timeline and a tangible goal.
I have done two major edits on LW. My goal is to complete the third (and final) major edit by the end of June this year. After that, the manuscript will be in the best shape its ever been in, and it will either fly or sink. Either way, I’ll be okay with the outcome and ready to move onto something new.
LW is the single piece of work that has taught me most about my writing (and editing) process. Sometimes there’ve been painful lessons to learn, but in the end this is going to be the strongest piece I’ve ever written. If it goes nowhere, it goes nowhere. Yeah, that’s tough to stomach–after a year of my blood, sweat, and tears, this manuscript may be no more than a learning experience. I guess that happens with all writers, though. You take a risk every time you leap into something new.
This year of writing and editing has been a blast–I truly mean that. I have so enjoyed jumping into Mack’s world. Her story has brought me so much more than advanced writing and editing skills–she’s also brought me new CP experiences (as terrible as can be, and also a brand new cat lady friend who I can trust has my best interests at heart).
I can’t wait to see what LW can be, but I’m not afraid to type “The End.”
There’s a new project looming just ahead. The future is promising.