So much wasted time and effort!
I thought I was a good enough author to edit as I wrote. It took an "aha" moment to finally smarten up and change my strategy. So, in hopes of saving you time, effort and aggravation, here is my (new) process.
Step one: FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT BEFORE EDITING.
No way to say this in lower case letters. I blundered through too many stories, always swinging back to the first chapters, trying to get everything perfect before moving forward.
Just call me "Tidy Sue."
When I began Fairless, I had no outline, no idea where the plot was heading--nothing but an idea to chase. I have strong panster inclinations and have only recently learned my lesson. My next novel is already plotted. But, I digress.
Having panstered my way through half the novel, I stumbled onto a strong plot line. Back to page one I went and oh, what a joy to finally know where this story needed to begin. If only I'd just jumped back to the middle and kept on drafting... Alas, the tidy freak in me decided to edit those rough chapters.
Did I end up with a strong manuscript? I wish.
Maybe I did more harm than good editing as I went along. At the very least, I dragged out the first draft to an entire year!
Lesson for Sue: tidy is for after the story is complete.
Got some sage wisdom to share? I'd love to hear it!