I Enjoy Self-Editing
I spend hours self-editing, and the time flies without concern. During my word-filled journey, I tweak sentences and locate issues. I find it enjoyable because the pressure of creating is off, and I can make any change. This process is relaxing and the best part of being an author.
Yet, I read countless posts where authors complain about self-editing. They find it tedious and unrewarding. Other authors feel the need to spend years meticulously self-editing. They probably have had more experience with hostile critics pointing out their errors. I have experienced some harsh criticism, but not at an extreme level.
My process involves at least ten passes before my book goes to my beta reader (mom). My focus is good flow. I try to ease the reader’s burden by eliminating awkward sentences. This effort requires me to move, expand, break up, or combine sentences. The result has the same meaning, but the reader breezes through paragraphs.
Another aspect I check on is the logic. Last night, I discovered I had been referring to rooms on a ship as bedrooms, not cabins. A simple search found all the instances where I had made this obvious mistake. Last week, I found a subtle issue where the character was lying down, and they walked away. I changed it to say they stood and then walked away. While this may not seem important, it is an excellent example of something a reader should never encounter in a book they paid for.
Aside from all the formal processes, I like to have fun. So, I select a random page and start reading. Along the way, I find all kinds of little things to change. What is my plan? I have none.
I do get a bit of a kick when I stumble across a reasonable mistake. I clean it up, and fixing the problem provides warm satisfaction. Later, when I re-read that section, I see the improvement and think, “This is well written. Good job.”
Of course, with a 100,000-word book, there are thousands of opportunities to make mistakes. That is a daunting concept, but at some point, an author has to stop self-editing and publish. To me, that is both a happy and sad day. People can both discover flaws and enjoy a creation. Is this intimidating? Of course, but all that hard work pays off with an excellent review or compliment.

You’re the best -Bill
October 31, 2018 Updated October 06, 2023
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