Lessons Learned From a Manuscript

While working through round three of editing my manuscript, I wrote myself a few reminders for the future.  I thought it would be fun to share, and perhaps save you from learning the hard way (like I did!). 

  1. Make sure the story’s conflict is strong from the get-go, and realistic.  It’s hard to insert this in future drafts!!
  2. When you’re tired and overwhelmed with the manuscript, tuck it away for a day.  Sleep on what’s bothering you.  Things will be so much more clear the next morning.
  3. Remember:  when writing or editing, focus on one page at a time!  When there are 120 pages, the stack can be quite overwhelming.  For your own good, only take it one page at a time.
  4. Be kind to yourself.  Be kind, be kind, be kind.
  5. Use bright colors when editing. 
  6. Sticky notes solve it all!  (thanks, Rachael Herron!)
  7. Receive comments with an open mind.  You may not agree with what readers say, and that’s perfectly okay.  But at least consider them, and don’t be offended that they didn’t think your story was perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect, anyway.
  8. Remember:  you may not feel like this book is the one… but write it anyway!  Complete it!  It provides practice, experience, growth, and a starting point.  Finish it, be proud of it, and keep going.

Have you learned a few lessons about writing and editing along the way?  Do share!

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6 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From a Manuscript

  1. C.B. Wentworth says:

    I don’t know what I would do without highlighters! They satisfy my need to color code everything and they are bright enough to lift my spirits when I get frustrated. 😉

    Editing has taught me to let go. You can’t keep every word, no matter how much you love them. Once I learned to loosen my grip and trimmed away all the excess, I learned to be a better writer.

    • Bonnie says:

      Thanks, C.B. – great advice!! I’ve been working hard on “letting it go” in my writing too… it’s very hard to release some of our favorite work, but so often necessary.

  2. Kristen Fairgrieve says:

    I use a 24-pack of assorted colored felt tip pens. And yes! Gobs of sticky notes!

    And right now, #3 is my mantra. I literally just threw my story down on the couch [where I was revising] and walked away from it because I was so overwhelmed. But after reading this, I can march back over there and just focus on the page I’m on and forget all the pages after it. *gulp*

    Let. It. Go! 😀

  3. Bryna says:

    I like the idea of happy colors. And number 4 is so vital.

    What I learned from editing is patience. No matter how frustrating it is to rewrite again and again… and again… and again… eventually the story hits its stride. Or at least, I think it does. I suppose I’ll see what my reviewers have to say.

    • Bonnie says:

      and again… and again… 🙂 So true! I have a feeling that your reviewers will love your work – you are a wonderful writer!
      I’m with you – patience is so hard to practice, but something I seem to get better at the more I write and revise. And being kind to ourselves is often difficult to do as well! But so important.

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