Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #4: The End is Just the Beginning

Boy, did he nail this one the head for me.  I spend 80% more time editing my work than actually writing it.  In my last novel, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, it was my own fault for pantsing it, and then having to go back and make major edits.

However, even with LAST WINTER RED, which I outlined, I spent several weeks of intense-high pressure edits after writing the bulk of it over a weekend writer’s retreat.  And for all that work, I didn’t really change much.  I added three small scenes (by small I mean 100 words or so) but the rest of it was fixing grammar, spelling, flow, etc.

Jon’s suggestion is to get your story down first, and do the editing when you are done (Yay, I did it right!)  If you edit constantly, while you are writing, you will probably go back and make changes before you are even done.

Note:  The above are Jon Gibb’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.

Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books:  FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.

Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.  Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and

Jon blogs at



15 responses to “Jon Gibbs’s Ten things I wish I knew before I was published #4: The End is Just the Beginning

  1. I learned this when I did NaNoWriMo 2011. They kept urging us to keep going and not look back. The book wasn’t good but I finished it. 🙂

    • Part of the problem with Nano is the pressure, and I don’t think everyone (meaning me) can writing something substantial in that kind of time frame. Now two months? That’s doable. 🙂

      • Yeah, I get that. I just wanted to know if I could write so many words per day for one month. I didn’t think beyond that. I guess everyone is different.

  2. All the work that comes after is so true. You don’t realize it until you’re done with that first novel and then go back. I definitely spent at least as much time editing/revising as I did writing.

  3. It’s hard for me not to edit as I ago along. I still have my training wheels on where that is concerned (more like blinders really) but, I finally see the value of writing straight through to the end. And outline is essential though, otherwise there will be many large edits down the line and I’ve had lots of those lol.

  4. get the story down first — got it – will try it

  5. I can’t edit as I go anyway because I get bored if I stay too long on a particular part. I like having it all down with the idea that I’ll worry about it all later (I tend to put things off.)

  6. Yes, I did that with my first attempt at a novel–editing as I went along–no wonder it took so long to finish it! As much as it pains me to know I’m leaving behind major glitches as I push forward with the writing, I do my best to ignore and tell myself I’ll tend to them on the next draft. Get this puppy written first.

    • What I do is scan back to the spot I need to fix and insert the words “add scene here where bob tells her the truth” or something like that so I don’t forget and have a plot hole

  7. Yes, I’ve mentioned somewhere else recently, a good system to remember is ‘Write from the heart and correct from the head’, which is kind of the same thing really as just get it down first and then edit afterwards.