Every writer will hit something like “writer’s block”. Either you’ve hit a dead end or you’re not sure how to get from point A to Point B. With editing, we do the same. All at once, you may hit an area that seems so far gone, that you’re not even sure if editing will fix it. The prose is sloppy, the plot is flimsy or inconsistent, your characters aren’t behaving naturally, your dialogue is contrived, the conflict is weak, and everything else that can go wrong. And every writer initially wants to react the same. Stall.
Writer’s (and editor’s) block will come to all of us, but the key is to have a plan of attack. It’s too easy, when confronted with this cocktail of bad writing, to find distractions…even ones that seem worthwhile. You may resort to reading, researching, or writing something else…like a blogpost! Yes, I’m currently avoiding my manuscript. I had a busy week which conveniently got in my way of editing the editable. This post is for every writer, but it’s my way of kicking myself back into play.
Everything is fixable. Our first writing will always be sluggish and messy. Trudging through the mud is a slow, exerting process, but it’s a necessary one. No magic elves are going to fix it for you. You can’t give it to beta readers or critique groups and hope they’ll do the dirty work for you. If you find yourself stuck, ask a critique partner for help. Explain your predicament and see if they have the distance to see your problem. Mostly editing problems just need time and attention. Stop avoiding them and work through them.
Good writers are steady writers. Professional writers treat writing like a job. So quit playing hookey, sit down, and edit that beast of a manuscript.