I try not to edit as I go along because, not only does it block my creative flow, but it ruins my confidence. It is easy to get immersed trying to perfect one irritating paragraph instead of forging on with the actual story, particularly at the times when inspiration is hard to find.
Once I have finished the novel, to the sound of loud cheers (mine) and some prancing around with excitement and relief and satisfaction, I have to take a very deep breath before starting the daunting task of editing, particularly when I have written over 100,000 words!
Editing can be mundane and frustrating and disheartening, but it is essential. And when I see my novel improving as a result of my editing, it inspires me to keep on, keeping on. Editing makes the difference between a clunky first draft and a reasonably polished novel.
Perfectionism has a lot to answer for. Sometimes I wonder when enough is enough, and whether I am in fact editing my poor novel to death. I hardly dare admit that ‘Never Again’ went through nine edits (eight of them mine and one by a fantastic friend from my writers’ group). I hope that as my writing improves I won’t need to go through quite so many …