Writing, Editing, Then Editing Some More by Polly J. Brown


About eleven months ago I started working on my current “work in progress.” I finished a first draft and had a team of wonderful women give it a thorough critique. Once they were finished, I reviewed everything they said, devised and plan and after giving the story a few week’s rest, began edits.

Editing took about two months. It was tricky balancing my day job with family commitments and editing on top of it, but I got it finished. I’d done a decent job of fixing some of the plot points, smoothing out the character’s arcs and adding a bit of action. My hope was that after my beta group read it, I’d have a few minor issues to clean up and I’d be ready. So two weeks after my betas finished reading, I again found myself sorting through comments, thoughts, and unresolved questions.

The feedback was awesome and highlighted a few issues which i believed could be easily fixed with a few additions and deletions. Problem solved. At least that’s what I thought. 

Since summer was in fully swing, I let the upcoming edits sit for a while. Sunshine, water and warmth beaconed, but my story was never far from my mind. I planned and strategized what path my story would take. But the more I planned, the more I came to the conclusion that my story required much more than a superficial edit. Not a complete gut, but a large restructuring to get it to the level where I want it to be.

At first the idea of it was overwhelming. Every spare moment I’ve had over the past eleven months was used to write, then edit, and now there’s a few more months of work ahead of me. Months I could be spending on a shiny new project. New projects have a high excitement level; edits not so much.

This led to phase two of my edit realization- lack of motivation. I kept thinking: Why should I spend months on edits just to have other issues crop up? Is continuing the editing process on this story worth it?

Which brought me to phase three- renewed excitement. it took a while, but I’m ready to pick up the challenge and edit my WIP once again.

Any writer will tell you that edits are a pain. I agree. Edits are the worst. It’s tedious work and at the end of it you may have to hop back on the carousel and give it another spin. Over and over again until you get dizzy. But edits are the best too. Each edit my story undergoes makes it stronger, makes it better than the version before. Which is my end goal: To write the best story I can.

Writing that first draft is the easy part. It’s the editing- adding/deleting/changing the bones of the story that takes the most effort. Every writer experiences the highs and lows that come with the process. Sometimes it’s just good to have the reminder.



Polly J. Brown manages money and people, both at work and home. She resides on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore with her husband, three children, and a geriatric beagle. She belongs to the Happy Author’s Guild Blog. When she isn’t dreaming of writing short stories, she is hard at work editing her first novel length work or distracting herself by writing a second. She can be found on:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PollyjBrownAuthor

Twitter: @PollysScribbles




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