Whatever you were writing, you’ve completed it. Are you really, actually, finally done? Not if you haven’t done this.

When I interact with new writers, they often have the misconception that because they’ve created something with a beginning, middle, and ending they’re done. They’re ready to publish and get out there. Not quite.

You’ll enjoy the writing process, or at least understand it better, if you realize there are more steps involved than just completing your pride and joy. They include

• Use the spell-check feature and go through your document to see where the program underlines errors that need your attention. Remember that spell-checking is handy, but not perfect.
• Print out a double-spaced copy.
• Sit down with the print copy, a pencil, and an eraser.
• Read it aloud. Yup, that’s what I said.
• Be prepared to make notes to move text; delete paragraphs you wept over as you typed them because they were lyrical, profound, deeply moving, brilliant (save them in case they really are and can be used in something else); rewrite entire sections; make notes of areas that need expansion.
• Make the changes to your computer document.
• Walk away for a day or two or a week.
• Repeat steps above until your copy flows and I mean flows.

New writers tend not to believe me when I tell them writing isn’t the most challenging (or rewarding) part of a project . . . editing is.

Some writers feel fairly or extremely confident in the technical side of the art so usually do their own editing and rewriting. They then rely on either someone they know who’s equally skilled to proofread what they’ve written or pay a proofreader to go through it before they publish it. After you work on a piece for a while, especially a longer while, you stop seeing certain glitches. It happens to everyone.

Never underestimate how important proofreading is, real proofreading, not re-reading what you’ve written. If you can write but don’t have a clue about punctuation, grammar, formatting dialogue, and so forth, and you don’t care to learn, be prepared to pay a proofreader/editor to handle this for you.

Important note for new writers: Resist the temptation to edit everything you write before you move to the next paragraph, section, or chapter. I’m serious. We can become so enthralled by the fact we’re actually writing, we repeatedly go back over what we’ve written and edit, and edit some more, and . . . we never make progress.

Author's Bio: 

Article partially excerpted from “Write, Get Published, and Promote: An Easy e-Guide for New and Aspiring Writers” by Joyce Shafer (download available at lulu.com/content/2805803). Get a discount at www.freewebs.com/writegetpublishedandpromote.