6 Ways to Stay Motivated and Encouraged During the Editing Process

You’ve finished your first draft and now it’s time to really get to work. The “play” time of creating a story and following along with your characters has ended—or has it?

Like everything else, editing is about mindset. Do you look at it as a dredging task or do you focus on the shining gem your manuscript will be when you finish? Do you get weighed down analyzing word play (sentence structure, for example) or do you realize how you’re sharpening your manuscript?

See, there are two ways of looking at a situation. If you view editing as a tedious necessity, it’s pretty safe to surmise that you don’t enjoy the process. Unfortunately, this is going to reflect in the end product. You’ll take shortcuts. You’ll declare something as finished just because you don’t want to look at it again.

But what if you were to think about the end result instead of the process to get there? What if you accepted editing as a necessary step in making your book marketable, in getting it into the hands of readers?

It’s the positive outlook that keeps me fired up during the edit process. There are times when I’m working on my first round of edits and I wonder if I was drinking at the time I wrote the first draft. Let me add this, I never drink when I write or edit.  Still, if I wrote a scene in a hurry or I was tired, whatever the case, editing these segments can seem laborsome, but I push through. Why?  My book deserves it. And so does yours.

Here are 6 ways to keep motivated and encouraged (in no particular order):

1)      Relish in your successes. Pick up a past work or even reread something you’ve written and are proud of. Simply appreciate it. Don’t over analyze.

2)      Be determined. Writing is a passion, but it’s also work.

3)      Realize your name and image are at stake.

4)      Focus on the outcome. Visualize yourself reading the final product and thinking “I did that?”

5)      Accept that everything doesn’t have to be accomplished in the first pass. The first time through you could simply look for the flow of the plot. How is the pacing, development, character development? The next time through, you could sift through for something else. You get the idea.

6)      Remember what Ernest Hemingway said: ““The first draft of anything is shit.” With that being stated, you are not alone. There are many other authors out there who have, and who are currently, going through the same feelings. 


  1. I'm fortunate as a writer because I actually enjoy doing tedious things. I get impatient when I am not finished with my books, but only because I am worried about my sales. When it's just me, by myself, not thinking of readers, I enjoy every step of the way and have no problem whatsoever taking my time.

    1. That's a great way to look at things, too, E.B. Glad to hear that you have fun editing. I do more these days than when I started out.


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