Here we go again. I disappeared again and you all thought I had given up didn’t you? Well it only appeared that way. Admittedly, I got beyond distracted, plus life threw up some speed bumps along the way. It happens. The point here is that I didn’t give up. Has it taken me 3 times longer than I originally hoped? Absolutely, but I’m sticking with it and I will finish this thing. (I’m actually getting really close, believe it or not!) So there you have it. Now moving on.
Proofreading, editing, re-writes, beta reading: call it what you will, but it all serves the same purpose. To polish your writing as much as possible so you’re putting out the best product you can. Once you finish the first draft, it’s time to start cleaning it up. Go back through it with a fine-tooth comb and fix any little spelling, grammar, or inconsistency issue you can find. After that, find somebody else to do the same exact thing. You might think you caught all of it, but keep in mind, you wrote it. Your eyes and mind know what’s supposed to be there, whether that’s what is on the page or not. A fresh set of eyes can go a long way when it comes to spotting hiccups that you inadvertently skipped over or awkward phrasing that makes sense to you because you know the inflection, but other readers won’t have that insight.
Here is where it’s good to have some people you can count on to give you honest, raw feedback. It’s nice to have friends and family look it over and validate your amazing feats and accomplishment of finishing a novel, but that’s not what we’re going for here. That part can wait ’til later, when it’s all said and done. (And be sure to have them write all of their compliments on Amazon so you can attract other readers!) We need people who will point out every little mistake so they can all be fixed. But make sure you’re ready for that. You’ve devoted a chunk of time to creating this work, and it’s never fun to have people poke holes in it and point out your shortcomings. Just keep in mind that it’s all part of the process and this stage is a necessary evil. It’s better to have a few readers catch things that can be fixed before it’s released to the public than to let your pride take over, skip this part, and have every reader point out the same flaws on the internet. If your beta-readers all point out the same thing, it’s probably something that needs addressed. So there it is: time to humble up. It’ll get better from here.
Thank you, that is all.