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I recently finished the first draft of the second novel in my series. I’ve typed The End, so now it’s time to switch gears from writing to editing. I plan to set that manuscript aside for four to six weeks, then go back and read with fresh eyes and start revising.

switch gears

During the interim, I plan to finalize the second novel in my series: implementing the revisions from the editor I hired, paying a copy editor for a final review (typos, grammar and spelling errors), writing the back jacket copy, then hiring a graphic design artist to create my front cover.

It’s all quite exciting, but there’s just one small problem.

I’m nervous about switching gears. I feel almost guilty about not ‘writing’ everyday.

Switching Gears from Writing to Editing is Hard

I’m sick of my second book. I outlined it eons ago, then wrote for what felt like forever. I’m welcoming this break, but I’m also skeeeered. All these other activities are new ground—researching and hiring professionals to work on my novel, not to mention coming up with my precise launching strategy. Writing sales copy is quite different than writing a story.

Plus, writers write. It’d be awesome if I had an extra hour everyday to start the third book of my series, while I do everything else, but I don’t. My only guaranteed novel time is 5-7 am. So now, I’m going to be an editor, researcher, marketer, and more. Honestly, I’m not sure I have the creative energy to juggle everything at once.

The other day I went to a coffee shop, bought a chai latte, then found an empty corner and wrote in my trusty journal (a cheap spiral notebook like I used in high school). I hurled all my fears, frustrations and phobias onto countless pages, until I finally felt calmer. I drained my mug, but filled my soul.

Bottom line: Change is hard.

3 Tips to Help You Switch Gears from Writing to Editing

Here are the insights I gained from my coffee-shop therapy session:

1. Writers do More than Write

They always have. I’m in an amazing writing group where I’ve witnessed over twenty traditionally-published novels come to life with impressive houses like: St. Martins, Harper Collins, Amulet, etc. Writers have always edited their own manuscripts before their publishing houses took their stories up a notch, written their own back jacket copies before the marketing departments polished them.

However, one big difference is traditionally-published authors rarely have a say-so in their book title or front cover. I’ve watched author friends fume over their ruined books with awful titles and ugly covers. How lucky am I that I have 100 percent control over all these aspects?! This point really made me feel better.

2. Don’t Ignore Your Fears

The more you pretend to not be afraid about switching gears with your writing, the more stressed out you get. It seems to solidify your anxiety into a brick wall. Instead, acknowledge your fears. Better yet, journal about them. Write how frightened you are, how inept you feel, or whatever you’re experiencing. This process helps minimize your worries and lets you understand them better.

3. Get an Attitude Adjustment

Yes, change is hard, but it’s also thrilling. I’m on schedule to publish my first novel in February 2016. I’m finally making my dreams come true.

I’m also ready to switch gears. I hope these insights help you move from fearful to fearless. Good luck!

What’s an upcoming step in your writing process that worries you? Let me know in the comments section.


For fifteen minutes, journal about your fears regarding an upcoming phase in your writing process. What frightens you most? Can you find anything that excites you about the situation? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments! 

Marcy McKay
Marcy McKay
Marcy McKay is the “Energizer Bunny of Writers.” She believes writing is delicious and messy and hard and important. If you’ve ever struggled with your writing, you can download her totally FREE book, Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All. Find her on Facebook!
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