I really wanted to write that four-letter word that starts with S.
Because I’m in the editing phase now. Progress is nice. But rewriting is not a job for the weak.
Lesson 1: Be humble. Be prepared for hard truths. Editors or beta-readers will inevitably point out weakness after weakness. Even if you desperately want to throw all their criticism overboard and sail the seven seas of Barnes & Noble, Kindle Store and Apple Books on your own, don’t do it. A renegade isn’t a good look for a writer just learning their craft.
Personally, I, to quote one of my editors, “took their comments and ran with them”. Which means that I’m changing a lot of stuff. It takes a great deal of patience and even more coffee to go through with throwing things away and rewriting the rest. Often, it will make you want to yell into the void, incidentally my second favourite pastime after writing. Call constant frustration an occupational hazard. But it will be worth it.
Sometimes, your editor won’t know what’s best. And sometimes you, as the author, are allowed to say no to suggestions. You can argue your case, but respect those who know all the industry’s ins and outs.
Lesson 2: Be brave. You’ve finished an entire story, be it short or long. That’s already a big achievement. Find the fragile essence of your narrative and stay true to it. Focus on the what and why, and the how will come, even if it’s only in the third or fourth edit.
Sssss… Soldier on.