Last night I edited both my novel and a My Way or the Anime post, and I was struck by the differences between the two.
Editing a blog post is easy. With a deadline close at hand, the incentives to stop screwing around and finish are high. The ephemeral nature of the format also means less editing is required. If I phrase something awkwardly in a blog post, that’s okay – there’ll be another one next week. The emphasis is on putting the work out there NOW. The fiddly bits aren’t as important.
Editing a novel, on the other hand, is very difficult. As an enduring work, any mistakes I make are harder to change; sure, I can edit the ebook version, but what if I ever print dead tree versions? Mistakes might as well be written in stone once they’re printed in a thousand books. Best to get it right the first time.
Motivation too, is harder to come by. It’s easy to edit a 1,000 word blog post, but a 150,000 word novel? That’s so daunting it makes it difficult to get started every single day.
Here’s the trick: though the blog post is easier, the novel is more important. Every blog post I ever write will disappear into obscurity, and fast, but a book? A unique story brought to life that could only come from my mind?
It’s hard, but it’s worth doing. The hard work usually is.