Writing your novel is the hard part, right?

Uh, no.

Let’s not confuse ‘hard’ and ‘work’. Writing a novel requires a lot of work. A LOT. Endless hours by yourself in front of some sort of writing device, delving into your mind and shaping characters who will never live unless you give them life. Thus do many writers have a God complex. 

Not me, of course, just everybody else.

Fiction writers know the act of creation, although by no means easy, has the redeeming effect of being invigorating and rewarding. After all, how many people have ever finished writing a novel? In terms of sheer numbers, more than you might think, but as a percentage of the population, very few. This is why so many non-writers stand in silent awe of those who start and finish a novel, it is something they could never imagine doing. If you conjured a unicorn they would be no less impressed…okay, maybe the unicorn thing would trump writing a book, but not by as much as you think. And, they believe, if they ever could find a way to write an entire book, once finished the hard part would be done.

Au contraire.

Editing is far harder than writing. See, most people write their first draft just to get the story down in some form or fashion. It doesn’t really matter if the grammar is proper or words are misspelled or any of that stuff. Think about it, when you tell a story, do you use words like ‘was’ or ‘were’, or say things like “she miraculously survived a potentially bad situation.” I do. I think everybody does. And when you’re writing your story you can do it, too.

It’s AFTER you’ve written your book those things become mortal sins. Passive voice, adverbs, too many adjectives, there are as many rules for writing as there are writers. And the time to worry about that stuff is in the editing process, which comes after you’re done writing a first draft. That’s when you can boil down your job as a writer to three words: edit, revise, repeat. Edit, revise, repeat. You do that, over and over and over again, for as many times as you can stand doing it.

How do you know when you’re finished? When the thought of doing it again sends you to the bathroom with a feeling of getting sick.