I’ve reached that stage with my work-in-progress. I can’t even look at it anymore. Don’t get my wrong. It’s not that I don’t love it. I do. It’s just that I’ve spent too much time with it: revising, editing, polishing, word-smithing, reviewing, and revising yet again. I’ve spent too much time hanging out with the characters. I’ve put it aside so I can view it with fresh eyes. I’ve done all the things I’ve advised other writers to do. And I can’t look at it.
And now it’s time to send it off to my editor. How does a writer know when it’s time to let a manuscript go and send it to an editor? One of my author friends does five or six rounds of editing, sends the manuscript to beta readers, does more edits based on suggestions, and only then does she send it to an editor. That describes my process, except I don’t have any beta readers. I have shared my drafts with a small group of writer friends who meet twice a month. That feedback has been invaluable to me.
My point is this: if a writer waits until her manuscript is perfect before sending it off to an editor, she will be waiting a long time. A writer’s manuscript will never be perfect. There comes a time when the writer must simply let go and put the manuscript in someone else’s hands.
My editor will return my manuscript with loads of great edits and suggestions. She will cover both stylistic and substantive edits. And when I read her suggestions, I will retun to my work with (that expression again) fresh eyes.
It’s all part of the process. When I read about “authors” who crank out a first draft, do a quick edit and post their work on Amazon or Nook, I shudder. That’s not how it is done. On the other hand, years of revising and editing and hand-wringing can paralyze the writer. When a writer cannot look at her manuscript anymore, it’s time to do one of two things–abandon it or send it to a professional editor. I have no doubt my work-in-progress is worthy of publication. it’s not there yet, but it will be.
What about you? Have you ever gotten sick of your manuscript? What did you do?