Beat Self-Doubt and Edit Like a Pro: Tips for Budding Fiction Authors

Published on September 1, 2022

Hello, budding authors! Today we’re diving into the deep end of the writing pool – the editing process. It’s where your story comes to life, gets polished, and shines like a gem. But let’s face it, it can be daunting. You might find yourself questioning every word choice, doubting plot twists, or second-guessing character development. Don’t worry; you’re not alone in this battle against self-doubt. With these tips, you’ll learn how to banish that pesky doubt and edit like a pro.

Embrace the Doubt

First things first: self-doubt isn’t always bad. It shows that you care about your work and want it to be the best it can be. The trick is not letting it paralyze you. Instead, use it as fuel to drive you forward. Remember that every great author has been in your shoes at some point—yes, even J.K. Rowling had her moments of uncertainty!

Trust Your Voice

Your voice is what makes your story unique. Trust it. Remember why you started writing in the first place – because you have a story to tell and no one can tell it quite like you can. When you start doubting yourself, go back to that place of passion and remember why your voice matters.

Find Your Community

Writing may be a solitary act, but editing doesn’t have to be. Find other writers who are also on their journey – they’ll provide feedback, encouragement, and maybe even a little tough love when necessary. Join writer’s groups online or in person (post-pandemic), participate in workshops, or hire a coach if you can afford it.

Take Breaks

Burnout is real and it feeds self-doubt like nothing else. So take breaks! Go for a walk, read a book, or binge-watch your favorite series. Your brain needs time to recharge and you might find that when you return to your work, you’ll see it with fresh eyes.

Edit in Stages

Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Break down the editing process into manageable stages. First, focus on big-picture issues like plot and character development. Then move on to scenes and dialogue. Finally, tackle grammar and spelling. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed and can focus on one thing at a time.

Learn From the Greats

Read widely and learn from the best. Pay attention to how your favorite authors craft their sentences, build suspense, or create compelling characters. You’re not copying – you’re learning.

Be Kind to Yourself

Remember: perfection is an illusion. Every author makes mistakes; it’s part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up over every little error. Instead, celebrate your victories – no matter how small they may seem.

Get Professional Help

Finally, consider hiring a professional editor. They have trained eyes that can catch things you might miss. Plus, they can provide valuable feedback and insights that can help elevate your writing.

So there you have it – tips to beat self-doubt and edit like a pro! It’s not always an easy journey but remember why you started: because you have a unique story to tell. Trust in yourself, take it step by step, and remember that every great author was once where you are now.

Now go forth and edit like the pro you are!

Written by Angela James

A #1 New York Times bestselling indie editor and author career coach, Angela James (she/her) has enjoyed 20+ years in genre fiction publishing and has edited bestselling books and authors, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Paper Princess by Erin Watt, as well as hundreds of other authors such as Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken, Kylie Scott, Autumn Lake Jones, A.C. Arthur, Alexa Riley, Ilona Andrews, Lilith Saintcrow, Josh Lanyon and more. She is also the creator of Before You Hit Send: a popular online self-editing and writing workshop as well as From Written to Recommended, a robust author community, and the Book Boss group coaching program.

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