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When to stop revising: Editor's Notes #322
September 16, 2020

Better is good. Best is better.
Audrey Owen

In this issue:

1. When to stop revising
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.When to stop revising
I am sometimes asked when a writer should stop revising. Like most answers, this one is, "That depends."

Here are some things to take into consideration when you are asking whether you should stop revising a particular piece.

Are you writing to a deadline? In this case, I mean a deadline imposed by someone else. Take as much time as you are given. If you think you need more time, check with whoever has the power to negotiate a new deadline — before the deadline hits. Be prepared to have your request denied. In that case, make the most of your time, and then take the consequences of turning in work that is not your best.

Do you want sales? This includes shopping your work to agents and publishers as well as having sales of actual books. If you need to impress someone, be impressive. Keep writing to impress. When you have no more ways to improve, you can stop revising.

Does your reputation matter to you? How many chances will you get to establish yourself as a worthy writer? Usually, you get one chance. Keep revising until there is no other possible change to improve your work.

How proud do you want to be of your work? If high quality matters to you, keep revising until you have created a piece of quality work that makes you proud.

In each case, keep revising until you are certain there is nothing more you can do. Then be sure to have at least one knowledgeable person read your work with an eye to making additional suggestions. Be prepared to pick up your pen and get back to work. Making any changes opens you up to making more. As long as the changes are improving your work, keep making the changes.

I have never met a published author who ultimately regretted taking all the time necessary to get the best possible piece work.

2.Tickled my funny bone
" I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I'm afraid this wasn't it."
Groucho Marx (With thanks to Albert Hall)

3. Interesting Web site
Here are 5 tips to stay motivated when the going gets tough:

4. Writing prompt
Write about a time that you persevered even when you weren’t sure you would be successful.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
Is Covid-19 sapping your energy? Some days I feel like I’ve spent my whole life fighting this virus, and the immediate and even the mid-term future don’t always look bright. These times call for persistence. There is a great deal you and I don’t control, but the things we can control can bring us joy if we persist. If you have a writing project that is ready for a fresh set of eyes, take advantage of my Covid-19 offer to you outlined below, and open your heart to joy.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. It’s still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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