The Lagging Middle

And no, I didn’t mean to say “sagging” middle, and I’m not referring to what some experience while writing the first draft.  I’m talking about edits here, and the “lagging” middle where, even though you love the book you’re working on, it’s hard to get fired up and disciplined enough to hurry up and finish already.

Quick, someone please place a stick of lit dynamite under me!

If you know me, you know that edits are something I’ve always struggled with despite knowing they are a necessity.  Even though, I have come to appreciate the final result, it’s still one of those areas of writing that requires true self-discipline.  And I know it’s worth it when I read one I’ve stuck it out with.  The MS is all polished like a shinning gem.

Then, there’s always the flipside to editing.  How much is too much?  How do you know when you’re finished?  I believe my OCD nature, and perfectionism would allow me to rehash, rehash, rehash.  Will it ever be good enough? 

Anyone else out there feel the same way about edits - sometimes it’s hard to get through them, while it’s also hard to stop and tell yourself your book is finished?


  1. I feel exactly like this and am going through this exact thing right now with my manuscript. I have no answers.

  2. You just have to bite the bullet and do it. Think of it as a labor of love. After all, your work is your baby.

  3. Welcome to the OCD club, Carolyn :) One of the worst experience of my (not so long, I admit) writing life was polishing my first MS (BTW it's a book on OCD, ironically) . At first I just couldn't make myself start editing process, it caused me physical pain reading what I'd written - it was just so bad.
    And when I finally started editing I felt like I wanted to bin the whole thing and start from scratch. I ended up scribbling corrections over corrections and re-writing the just edited paragraph. I thought I'd never finish, it was never good enough.
    I was so relieved when I finished

  4. thank you for your comments, all of you. You're right Ken, it's something that just needs to be done...sometimes it's hard. must...edit...focus...

  5. I stopped fretting the edits after I read a quote from Joseph Conrad, asked when he was going to finish Heart of Darkness after publishing it several times, `When I`m dead`

  6. I'm there right now! It's a challenge to perservere. You can't really enjoy reading the MS, because you have to be critical. My main insecurity is not knowing everything that needs to be fixed. When I think it's good enough, is it really? This is why critique partners are essential.

  7. Mack, thank you for sharing the quote with us. It's so true.

    And Charlotte, you're right actually. It probably is hard because we're looking at our MS with a negative eye. I know there's one book I've written that I'll have a very hard time editing because it follows my MC through a very emotional time.


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