Essay

Over-Editing: Does it Exist?

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If you’ve visited this blog before, then chances are you know that I often emphasize the importance of editing. And with good reason—editing is essential to both improving a WIP and refining your skill as a writer.

But while writers often talk about working on their third or fourth (or tenth) draft and most of us are well aware that the editing doesn’t stop after the completion of a second draft or a few beta-read edits, the seemingly endless flow of edits begs the question: is there such a thing as editing too much?

It probably comes as little surprise to many of you to hear that creative individuals tend to share perfectionistic traits—particularly with their work. We truly are our greatest critic, and because of that, many writers often find themselves caught in a loop of endless edits.Considering the enormous amount of rejection most writers must face, it’s easy to see why so many writers get so caught up in the editing stage that they never really reach completion. Letting our work go—whether to be self-published online or subjected to opinions from professionals in the publishing world—is a scary thing. And naturally, we

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want out work to be the best it can be before release—as it should be.

But eventually, you have to let your WIP graduate to the title of completed work. Eventually you have to accept that you’ve made your manuscript as good as you possibly can and it’s time to let it speak for itself.

Editing is an essential step to the writing process, but it is possible to overdo it. Because I promise you, your work will never be perfect—even traditionally published works contain grammatical and typographical errors. In your eyes, there will always be something to fix—whether it’s that sentence that still doesn’t sound just right or the possibly misplaced comma on page 193.

But if we never let our work try for the limelight, then we’re crushing its potential before it even had a chance. We’re killing the dream with fears and doubts and a reach for the impossible.

Don’t let a fear of rejection or less than perfection keep you from achieving your dreams. Edit your work until it’s the very best that you can make it, then stop. It’s time to let it go.

Have you ever fallen into the endless editing loop? Share your experiences in the comments below!


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