Banner image - How do I know when I'm done editing?

When is it time to move on to the next chapter?

As I’m neck deep in the editing process of Grim Curio, I continually find myself against the problem of knowing when a chapter is “complete”. It’s a weird thing because it’s entirely possible to edit too much. I know cause I’ve done it.

For me, when a chapter is nearing completion I can read through it without being interrupted by external thoughts. I like to feel completely immersed. So if I find a clunky phrase, it’s gotta be unclunked. If I wonder about a logic gap, that gap’s gotta be filled. And if any scene or emotion doesn’t strike me as true, it’s gotta be truified.

The only way I can know this is done is by reading through my chapters over and over again, and that takes time. A lot of time. So my process is slow, likely imperfect, but when I get a chapter feeling right, I know it. That’s when I’m able to move on. It’s a feeling.

Now I need to work on getting to that point faster.

Cover of The Creative Thinkers Toolkit

Think creatively — Quantity leads to Quality

Lately, I’ve been listening to The Creative Thinkers Toolkit by Prof Gerard Puccio. It’s a great course which is making me think about creativity in new ways.

One point I found particularly interesting was shared during the lecture Combining Opposites—Diverge, Then Converge.

Puccio calls out two different mindsets that lead to heightened creative thinking: divergent and convergent thinking. Here are the horribly simplified explanations of these ideas. Divergent thinking is basically the process of brainstorming without limiting yourself. Convergent thinking is the filtering process used to take ideas and pick the best ones.

What impacted me while listening was, these two thought processes are necessary for peak creative thinking but when used incorrectly they can actually stifle your creativity. If you filter out bad ideas while brainstorming, you are actively limiting your imagination.

So what’s the best way to generate highly creative ideas? Do what Hemmingway did. Whenever Hemmingway came up with a book title, he would list out hundreds of title ideas. He would then go through them and strike them off the list one by one until one or none were left. He may do this several times until he found the perfect title. He also did this with the last lines of his novels.

So it looks like quantity leads to quality. The more idea’s you generate, the more creative you’re forced to become, and the more you have to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Do this often enough, and creative thought becomes more natural. Not only are you generating a better final idea, but you’re also getting better at generating ideas at all because of this listing process.

This is something I struggle with, so a new goal for myself: generate more. It’s time to put my divergent brain into action. If you want to dive in deeper to this idea and others like it, I highly recommend checking out The Creative Thinkers Toolkit on audible.