To Edit or Not to Edit? That is the Question



I have a wonderfully rare gift tomorrow. A day off from work, almost entirely child free that I intend to dedicate to writing. Whilst I am acutely aware I now have an overdue assignment, tomorrow is dedicated to my novel. But I have a problem.

I have 50 something thousand words written – that need a heavy edit, I have some major character development needed too, and probably before I carry on. I have also lost a bit of confidence due to the mis-timed feedback and I’m not sure how to get it back. But it has knocked me significantly off track, and now I feel like I need to go back and edit major storylines, sub-stories and character lines.

But here is my question, Should I go back and spend the time I have between life admin editing the 50K? Or do I spend a couple of hours on character development and then soldier on with the story and edit at the end?

Now – before you all charge in and tell me to plough on (because thats what everyone has said without exception)

There are a few caveats –

I need to either raise my confidence with what words I already have down on the page or I am not going to be able to continue, OR someone needs to provide me with an extremely rational logical argument as to why I should continue.

Listen to me. I already know the answer, I am inviting you to tell me to continue, but I am stuck. Stuck wanting to edit, to critique and perfect what I have before carrying on… the urge to edit is overwhelming.

Also now I haven’t looked at my novel since the 26th Nov when I completed NaNo, the usual ‘carry on to keep the flow going’ doesn’t really apply, as I am a bit out of the flow now anyway.

So what do I do???

Answers on a blogpostcard!


  1. That’s a tough one, Sacha!
    I am in a similar position with my NaNo work. It has reached the end (and is crying out for a sequel for which I already have a working title, a headline summary and a candidate cover). However, it needs more middle, sub-plots need finessing, character consistency is possibly suspect and the whole thing needs critical revision.
    However, to do NaNo, I interrupted work on the original story (from which my NaNo work is a spin-off) and that needs revising and editing first – I think.
    Having said all that, I don’t have your time pressures; it’s really just a question of organising my head.
    Sorry, I’m not being very helpful, am I?
    In your position, I think I would try to press on with the story, unless you believe that your edits and revisions will change the flow of your story and put it in a different place to where it is now. Rationale? If you do that, you will have a completed product to work on, rather than a half-completed one, which will still need developing and revising when it is finally finished.
    But what do I know? This time last year I was thinking about writing my first short story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. as someone who hates editing above all, though others assure me editing is re -writing, just listen to Gogol’s advice: write in a flash what you hold dear to heart in the first draft, then let it rest for a while, not for eternity, god forbid.. then go to the third (mine)favorite stage: killing your darlings…

    Liked by 1 person

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