How Do You Know When To Stop Editing?

I’ve seen this question come up several times. Since I’ve made it to the other side of editing once with my published novel Martin Hospitality, and I’m currently editing my novella Andora’s Folly, I thought it would be a good subject to cover.

In short, you’re done editing when you’re at peace. That’s the important thing it should come down to, I think. To get peace, this is what I found.

IF you’ve:

  1. had betas who loved your story,
  2. applied their feedback,
  3. given it a full read through and edit,
  4. shared it with a professional editor,
  5. applied their feedback, and
  6. prayed about it,

THEN stop.

There will always be things that you feel like you can do better. Always. The point is, have you done them well? If your many betas, editor, and God say yes, then you’re done. If not, work only on those things. Step away for a while if you need to.

At this point, you should have a peace about your story’s quality! If you really don’t, perhaps you should keep working. But stopping for forever isn’t ever going to be easy. Don’t let your fears of what could be wrong get in the way of everything you’re being told is definitely right.

Once you get up the nerve, hire a formatter. The requirement to get the absolute final draft to them will give you that extra push to really truly be done and let it go. That was the hardest part for me, but it was necessary!

Obviously the editing process will probably be different for every person. I didn’t have to do a gazillion revisions for Martin Hospitality. But those numbered items were the things I did that gave me an answer outside of myself.

Because we all know if it were up to this perfectionist, my book would never be finished.

However, I did finish Martin Hospitality, and even before its publication it had left an impact on people’s lives. That makes it all worth it 🙂

~~~~~

Anyone in the editing phase right now? (I feel you.) Editing can be so hard, but it’s so necessary. Your story will get there!

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abiclaire

abiclaire

author of #MartinHospitality | blogger | freelance editor | INTJ | daughter of the King | writing is my ministry | reading is my pastime

9 thoughts on “How Do You Know When To Stop Editing?

  1. I’m reading through my whole novel today, and I just have a few pages left, so this post was very helpful!
    It actually made me pretty sure that I have done what I can for this novel!

    1. I’m so glad! I had to read through my entire novella, too. It’s now in the hands of beta readers and they’re showing me just how much I can miss 😉 They’re such an important part of the process in my opinion. I’m so glad that you’ve reached that peace that you’ve done what you can do. I hope whatever external advice you seeks goes well for you 🙂

  2. Great post! Personally I don’t know if I will ever reach a peace with my novel. I feel like there will always be more things to change and edit. Thanks for mentioning those ideas. I guess if people tell you that’s it’s good enough, you will eventually reach some sort of “it will do” kind of phase. Hoping for that 🙏🏽

    1. Thanks 🙂

      I know exactly how you feel! For me, it was really learning to trust other people’s judgment and then come to a sort of peace about where it was at. Because I could go on editing for forever. And ever 😉 You’ll get there!! <3

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