I Can’t Read My Own Writing
I really wanted to read my novel before starting on copy edits.
I just wanted to be able to make notes where my attention started to wane, so I’d know what might need heavy editing.
When I read for fun, I typically read about a hundred pages an hour. I slow down with dense descriptions and war maneuvering, but for the most part, I read quickly. I blame being very plot driven, having an imagination that’s more conceptual than visual, and playing far too much with my grandmother’s “Learn to Speed Read” kit from the ’60s.
When I’m copy-editing my work, I can get through about ten pages an hour.
I thought that it couldn’t possibly take me more than six hours to read my own novel, but I was wrong. I’m not reading as slowly as copy editing, but twenty-five pages an hour is a quarter of my recreational reading pace.
I’m not the sort of person who typically takes notes while reading recreationally. I’ve done a fair amount of copy-editing and critiquing of peer’s writing, though.
I absolutely cannot read my own work without making notes! Without saying “this part needs rewording” or “that part is awkward.”
Critical of My Own Work
I don’t know if I’m reading it differently or if I’m just being overly critical, but I’m seeing so many more issues with my writing trying to read it as a whole than I did when I was editing it a page at a time.
Clearly, the difference is I’m looking at it like a reader or a critique partner, rather than a writer trying to be done with this draft.
I’ve got 50 pages read, 253 to go, wish me luck! I’m hoping being this judgmental is exactly what my novel needs.
Can you read your own work? Do you find that the best way to find the flaws?
I have my highs and lows with my own work. I either think it’s brilliant or I think it’s garbage… But I get a lot of good out of typing up the handwritten stuff. The mechanical part seems to automatically correct the awkward.
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As much as I hate to admit it, reading your own work is one of the best ways to edit. I’m very critical of my writing, and I constantly make notes when I’m reading one of my manuscripts. Like you, I do read fast, so I have to force myself to slow down when I’m editing
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The problem is I was TRYING to just take pacing notes and to get through it quickly. And I can’t
I have to let my stuff sit for a while before I can go back and reread it–and make lots of notes! When I write the first draft, I like to leave inline notes to myself as reminders. I’m finishing up a first draft now, and I know I’m going to have a LOT of work to do on the revision. I suspect my read-through speed will be far slower than yours 🙂
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Hi there! I just came across this post of yours and your blog in general and I couldn’t help but comment and tell you how much I love this! Keep up the great work, I am going to follow you so I can keep up with all your new posts!
Thats so true, i feel you so much, believe me…
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