Lost in the Details

I’m a very detail-oriented person, and typically it’s a good thing. But lately, I’ve realized it’s been hindering me in my writing.

I’ve been working on editing a manuscript of mine. I haven’t done a lot of editing before, but it’s been something I’ve been working on for a while now. I have different big picture or narrative changes I want to make, and then of course there’s the little things. I’ve been tackling the editing process by going line by line, reading over everything. 

As I started to get farther through my manuscript, I realized that I’m not at that point yet. Yes, it’s good to make sure every line sounds perfect. Fixing typos, correcting grammar issues, changing clunky wording. It’s all important. But if your whole narrative is changing, maybe it’s not that important to worry about the little stuff right now. As I’ve been going through, making changes, thinking about what I need to change, I realized there’s no point of making this line or that line sound just right, when I’m trying to change the big things, such as taking out a character or adding in scenes to add to the manuscript.

So why was I lost in the details, working on every single line? It doesn’t matter. It does matter. It just doesn’t matter yet. Why bother fixing every sentence, when once I make the big changes it’s just going to change the lines anyways, and I’m going to have to fix everything twice? This editing process has been slow – a lot slower than I’ve wanted. I have good ideas, and I’ve come so far already. But right now I’m focusing on the wrong things. Yes I’m editing, yes it sounds better, but it’s nowhere close to being where I want it. If I go slowly, line by line, it’s going to take forever to make the major changes. And then I’m just going to have to go back and do it all again. It’s putting in effort that, at this point, doesn’t even matter.

Of course, I know there’s many ways to edit. But right now, this is where I’m at. I don’t need to be worrying about every little sentence right now. I’m not there yet. And the sooner I fix the big problems, the sooner I can get back to doing what I’m used to doing – living in the details.

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