It’s so easy to get caught up in the writing of your book. I know I did. I just wanted to get the story from my mind to the page. I know how I visualized it; I could see the story as if it were a movie playing in my head. Once it was all out, there in front of me in black and white a wonderful sense of accomplishment and relief swept over me. I had completed my first book! Time to celebrate?
Not exactly. Now I had to determine if it was any good. My first draft was huge! 600 plus pages. I wasn’t going for an epic and I knew from the beginning this book was going to have at least two sequels so why was it so big? Something I learned in the process of writing and publishing: read my own writing. Some of the best advice I can give is to read what you write, not from the perspective of the writer but from the perspective of a reader.
We are all readers, we have to be to love the art of words so much. Once I took my writer hat off, bound my draft in a three ring binder, and sat down to read the book and I realize how many words were so unnecessary. I repeated phrases a lot, took more words to describe things than were necessary and found a couple of chapters that were just not needed. It was amazing how I started hacking through the forest of my work and cut a much more concise path to the end. By the third draft I had cut my book in half.
As writers, we do not start out awesome. It’s a skill that is developed over time. The more we write, the better we become. Even now, I read the first book and I can see where I could possibly change things, maybe use less words and I use what I learn by reading my book to make the next one better. Our ultimate goal is to have others enjoy our writing so always keep that in mind. Read your own writing as a reader, not the writer.