Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Sure, I know the story. You just wrote your first book(s) and you think you are ready to get it published. Of course you do! You just spend hundreds (thousands?) of hours pouring your heart and soul into your work. Nothing could possibly be wrong with it, right?
Of course not, because you are perfect in every way and in everything that you do. You never make any mistakes and whenever you put your mind to doing something, you do it right every…
I’m sorry, that was just positively rude of me, now wasn’t it…?
Seriously though, you should really go back over your work. Do it a little at a time, or all at once, but above all else, just do it okay?
Listen. I know the feeling. You’ve just created this fantastic world and it’s chocked full of originality you are literally itching to share. But here’s the thing. It’s not done yet. Go on, take a look. I promise you that you’ll find my words to ring true!
No matter how careful you are, you are going to make mistakes. Hell, maybe you’ve made a few! If you are anything like me, you write to keep up with the flow of the story. In that case, you’re going to find that you made a lot more mistakes than you thought (possible).
You see, the funny thing about writing; once you get in the groove, you are only going to see the words that your imagination is supplying you. You may think you wrote them correctly, but in truth, you are only seeing what you want to. Go on…see for yourself.
Really. How many times must I poke and prod at you?
Read it over with a critical eye. You’ll be surprised at what you find. Then, when you are done? Do it again.
Okay, so maybe it sounds like I have a little experience with this. The truth is; I’m no more experienced than any other kickstart writer! Sure, I do have a novella and its novel sequel published, but that doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly become a master of the literary arts!
On the contrary, I’m still learning something new every day.
My most recent flub came with an update of my novel; The Hunter Reborn. I had made some changes to the manuscript and added in some new content. What I hadn’t done was go back over the work I had completed. If I had, I would have found that I had done all of this to an older version. And you know what happened next? I somehow saved it over the newest version, which was the edited and completed edition that I had used for publish.
I know, right?
But, here’s the thing. It could have easily been avoided, IF, I had gone back over my work beforehand!
A critical eye, I tell you. Dig that sumbitch out of that dusty ole corner of your mind, fasten it right in the center of your forehead and really analyze your work.
Okay, so maybe you DID get all errors taken care of. Maybe you DON’T have any grammatical mishaps floating around and maybe, just MAYBE you have perfectly punctuated your every sentence. Great! That’s awesome!
But I bet you think of a different way to describe something along the way, thus improving or adding to the richness of your work!
One of the hardest things to do with your work is not finishing it, but rather, being able to know when you are done. That, is the real trick.
And to tell you the truth, I don’t think a writer’s work is ever done. Sometimes you just have to know when to walk away as well.
Either way, it’s never after you are finished writing. Trust me, your work has only just begun.